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  1. 4 points
    It was a beautiful day in Elwynn Forest. The birds were chirping, the cows were mooing as they wandered about unfettered... and the sewer crocodiles that had escaped to the sewage pond outside of Stormwind dragged a particularly careless one to its untimely death. At one of the local farmsteads, a seasonal worker was getting fired. Amidst the relative tranquility and the goings on of the kingdom's residents, a newcomer marched with purpose down the road. With eyes that gleamed with ferocity, upturned nose held high, and scales that shined in the sun, a brown spotted colored Sethrak moved towards the city's gates with purpose! Only to come face to face with a patrol of mounted riders, tasked with protecting the kingdom from the Horde and other threats who had, as of late, invaded and sowed chaos at an unacceptable rate. "HALT, SNAKE!" The patrol's captain motioned for his soldiers to stop, and halfway surround them, "You will go no further!" "HOW DARE!" The Sethrak yelled back, its neck instinctively flattening to make the back of its head and neck wider... presumably to look fierce, "Hoomans go away! I has messij for king!" There was an awkward moment of silence as the captain was... in essence dumbstruck with how spoken words could somehow be misspelled, but he pushed the befuddlement aside, "Stand down and surrender, and you will not b-" "GO 'WAY HOOMAN! AM DANGRUS!" The Sethrak huffed and puffed breaths in, and began to hiss, "EMPIRE DEMANZ SURR-ENDR!" "...um, sir?" One of the rookie patrolman spoke up after another few moments of awkward, befuddled silence, "What is it doing?" "How am I supposed to know? You and you, get off your horses and arrest it." The captain pointed to the rookie and one other guard, who looked at each other, shrugged, and dismounted. "NO TUCH!" The Sethrak hissed louder, tensing a puffing up even more, "I BITE!" The rookie and his partner, despite being faced with this... weird unknown, couldn't help but snort as a laugh escaped them. Undeterred, they began to approach, which caused the Sethrak to become even more defensive, coiling back into a defensive posture until!... ...it collapsed to the ground in a hissing, writhing heap. "What in the... Sir?!" One of the still mounted guards looked alarmed, concerned, but ultimately confounded as she watched the snake man flail about in the dirt in what looked to be a horribly acted death-throe. The guards backed up their horses, but otherwise all stayed where they were, as for the next minute or so the snake person kept on its death act, until finally laying still in a contorted pose... mouth agape, and forked tongue lolling off to the side. "I've had enough of this. Get that damn thing to the stockades and make SI:7 deal with it." The captain annoyedly ordered, turning his steed around back to the city gates, and motioning for the other mounted guards to follow. "You heard 'im." One of the dismounted guards went over, grabbing the Sethrak by its robe collar to try and force it to stand up, but finding it floppy and limp, though not in an actually dead way. Starting to get irritated, he tried to force it to turn over, only to express further frustration as it flipped back belly up, and did it again when he tried to right it once again. "For the love of the light, just throw it over your horse and let's go." "arrrggghh.... no tuch!" The Sethrak quietly hissed and muttered, oofing as it did get thrown over the back of one of the patrol horses, to be carted away into the city's gates, oggled at by the city's denizens, and then locked up to be attended to later.
  2. 3 points
    I was auto-banned on the official blizzard forums when I tried to post there. I'm guessing because it was my first post in years and it had a link?. It was instant, so not because of them disagreeing with my post's content. Dunno. I typed it out, so here it is: Hi, most people know me as Mortica. I’ve run a RP-PVP fansite for the Twisting Nether server (and later the combined Ravenholdt server) since late November of 2005, a few months after the first three RP-PVP servers opened up. It’s called the Twisting Nether Gazette. It was featured on the WoW Community Spotlight a couple of times back in the day (prior to the great worldofwarcraft website purge many years back). While I am now only a “casual” player, over the years I have invested much time, money, and tears in promoting my favorite type of realm in the past, until I, too, had to give in to Blizzard’s disinterest and recognize that TN is now, and forever will be a ghost town. I don’t do Reddit unless someone links me there. These days, I only come to the official forums on rare occasions, usually because someone has linked something here. I may not be the vocal majority, but I kinda like to think I represent a decent-sized chunk of the WoW population that plays RP-PVP who may not be social media banshees. We are adults, with jobs, who like to log in and play for a few hours with friends a few times a week. If I had never played RP-PVP, and as a data-minded person, I looked at the population of the retail RP-PVP servers now, I might be inclined to agree with this Ion person who I hear thinks RP-PVP is a niche too small for Blizzard to cater to. I miss Bashiok, who always seemed a good soul back when I came to these forums more often. With the exception of Emerald Dream, The RP-PVP servers probably do look like a failed experiment. I could probably write a novelette on why they failed, but in the end, the people who wanted 24-7 RP had to move to high-pop servers. Those who wanted to kill dragons FIRST went to competitive PVE servers. And with all of the changes over the years that broke open-world PVP, those who loved that aspect most moved on as well. Don’t even get me started about Blizzard NOT opening up fresh non-RP PVP servers on the same day to filter out the people who just wanted to level race on a brand new shiny server and could give two hoots about RP. I still want to bonk whoever made that decision’s head. Gently, of course. Classic could/should/might alleviate most of these problems, -->IF<-- you make a single RP-PVP server from the get-go. Let people pick the server type that is best for them. Don’t make people re-roll a few months down the line. Don’t make people have to check forums and Reddits and Ouji boards to figure out which server is going to give them the best approximation of the RP-PVP experience. Label things properly, and the people who want RP-PVP can settle on the correct one. If Classic, as a whole, succeeds, RP-PVP may actually be one of the more stable versions, as the kind of people who’d want to play Classic probably venn-diagram well with the kind of people who like RP-PVP servers. The unique thing I can add to this discussion is numbers about RP. The number of stories created on the Twisting Nether server on the Gazette fansite are as follows: Counting only threads started in the written RP section of the forums (so no journals, biographies, art posts, or general chit-chat) we had 828 stories written between 11/29/2005 and 1/17/2007 (when BC started) with an average of 11 posts per story. Which works out to roughly 2 stories started every day during Classic. Which may not sound like much, but that’s just people who bothered to write out their RP onto a forum. This doesn’t count in-game only RP, or RP that happened on guild forums, blogs, or other format. These were created by 576 active members (accounts created who posted at least once). That’s just on TN. There were 5 other North American RP-PVP servers, and even if you assume that TN was the most prolific RPing realm of the group (humble*brag), that’s a lot of RP. People play the game for different reasons. People have nostalgia about Classic for different reasons. For some of us, writing stories about conflict with the enemy out in the world gives the game meaning. Here is a link to just ONE of the many stories that couldn’t have happened as emersively on a PVE server (alas, none of the image or video links in the story work anymore). You are welcome to browse around. Yes, the forum, like the server, is a bit of a ghost-town now. https://wow-tng.org/forums/topic/191-oh-dam/
  3. 3 points
    The constant pounding filled her ears. Julilee lifted her head as the wind rose for a moment, letting it catch the loose strands of pale hair around her face. Beneath her feet, the coarse sand shifted, cut into strange shapes and angles. It was dyed orange and red in the early morning light, and she turned her head to look behind her briefly at the rising sun. The sky, also red and orange and pink, was always a welcome sight, even after having been back aboveground this long. Then she turned her attention back to what lay before her. The pounding was the combination of the screaming, stomping audience and drums. The sands were the floor of the arena and weren't just red from the sunrise, but from dried blood, and were grooved not by the elements but by battles. The sun was rising over the bleachers and the match was about to begin. She drew Mercy. The sword gave away her identity to those who recognized its jagged silhouette, but that turned out to be vanishingly few. So far, she could count them on one hand. Memories were short in war. The white mask that covered the lower half of her face did enough to disguise her identity otherwise, along with the absence of any of the other features that had once marked her identity, such as her once-dark hair, former purple armor, and tabard. Mostly the tabard. That had been the majority of what people had ever seen when they looked at her anyway. To be fair, she was the one who had redesigned it and raised its banner once more. "Juriel! Juriel!" Now she let her image become whatever it may. The gate across the arena opened with slow, menacing clanks that were nearly drowned out as the crowd rose in volume commensurately. Juli stood waiting, the tip of Mercy pointed at the sand. She held it in one hand and nothing in the other. Carrying a shield would only burden her now. The creature that came out was not one of the largest she had faced. The mad brutosaur had been that, and it had cemented her as the preeminent fighter in this arena circuit. But it was one she had never fought before. It slunk out, wary of the noisy crowd and bright, open space, but soon focused on Juli. And then it was followed by another. Two adversaries. The crowd, thrilled by this twist, became all but deafening. The creatures' blue-gray bodies were lined from nose to tail-tip in spikes, and long tusks protruded from their mouths. Their forequarters were heavily muscled for digging, pouncing, and shredding, but their lean bodies were built for speed nonetheless. Lean, but at least twice her size in weight and mass each. Sabertusks. Julilee was given pause as she studied them, knowing that Zandalari druids took on the same form, but in a few moments it became apparent that there was no hint of sentience in these beasts. They circled her warily, moving instinctively as a pack to take down the first edible thing they had seen in days. Juli continued standing still, only turning her head slightly as one circled behind her. When it thought it had the advantage, it pounced. She heard the crunch of sand and moved as it did. She threw herself into a backwards roll that was diagonal to the beast's trajectory. Tucked low to the ground, her relatively small size played to her advantage as she passed underneath the beast. As she rolled, she whipped her blade up and across its belly. There wasn't enough clearance to get the strength behind the thrust to disembowel the thing, but bright red blood spattered over her white, gold, and dark gray armor. The beast shrieked. As it landed and whipped around with shocking speed to lunge for her, paws as massive as her head with claws that long again coming at her face, she was only just pushing herself into a crouch on the sand. There simply wasn't enough time to dodge again. Her empty arm came up to block. It would have done absolutely nothing to save her if not for the Light that blazed into existence around it. The crowd roared in vicious delight as the large beast collided with the shining barrier, its sheer mass pushing her back a dozen meters and leaving a deep furrow in the sand, but she kept her feet under her. After the beast jumped away to seek a new opening, the creature not yet slowed by the shallow gash that bled fresh red onto the sands, she rose unharmed and allowed the shield to dissipate. The other beast, more cautious than its partner, did not yet make a move, only prowling along the side of the clash. The horn on its nose was broken, it was a darker blue-gray, and it was slightly smaller, though not by much. As Juli watched them stalk her, she wondered what had brought them to the attention of the arena organizers. Had they preyed on townspeople? Ravaged local livestock? Or had it just been the appeal of a matched pair? "Juriel! Juriel!" The crowd was insistent. It wanted blood, hers or the beasts', it didn't care. She had learned it thrilled to either, though this had not really come as a surprise. As much as they had loved her rise to underground fame, it would love her downfall just as much. She had seen the betting odds and knew many had no qualms about betting on the latter every match, if not more and more eagerly with every victory. She made good money off those bets. The sabertusks were too fast for her to try to take the offensive. Unlike the brutosaur, they could turn on a dime and rend with those deadly claws as fast as she could blink. If she gave them the slightest opening, they would seize it, and her by the throat. She would have to wait for them to come to her to try to find an opening, and the crowd communicated its disapproval of her patience as she continued to let the beasts circle her, though this time she slowly turned to keep them in sight as much as possible. Trying to urge action, the drum players increased the tempo. It was effective on everyone but those battling in the arena. The crowd grew more frenzied; someone threw a rock that landed with a thud in the sand not far from Juli. From somewhere, she could hear Tetsujin hollering directions at her. She didn't take her eyes off the beasts, nor they theirs off her. The two beasts started to circle closer. She knew the moment they decided to attack. This time, the sabertusks moved together.
  4. 2 points
    Hey all, I did a fairly major upgrade to the site this morning. One of things you might want to do is update your bookmarks so they link to https:// instead of http://. The site will auto-redirect you, but it might save you a fraction of a second in loading the site if you change your bookmark. The site should run a bit faster now, and I've got some options for speeding it up more that I might test. The forum software that this site runs on, https://invisioncommunity.com/ is leased for a fee every 6 months. The next renewal day is in late May. The one after that is in November. I will likely be going with a newer, cheaper forum option in November. Why? You might ask? Because Invision forums are like sports cars, and TNG is being used by grandma to drive herself to church and back home once or twice a week. The lease renewal fee is pretty reasonable for a sports car, but more than I want to pay for only a few posts per week level of activity. This isn't a cry for money, by the way. It's just a recognition that, while TN RP isn't completely dead, what RP that is happening has mostly moved to Discord. This isn't a TN specific probably either. I've checked around and where I used to find a few other servers that had something similar, I can't find anything anymore. But Discord servers? They are everywhere. And the truth of the matter is it's a better interactive medium than forums are. But forums are still better for permanence and stability. The purpose of this site was always to preserve the fanfiction of RPers on the Twisting Nether server (and later for Ravenholdt too!). That isn't going away. Things the *might* be going away: the front "news" page, private messages, old discussion posts, leaderboards, clubs, and profile public messages. But November would be the earliest that that would happen. Hey, who knows, maybe they'll merge TN with another RP server and life here will get crazy again and make that sports car lease worthwhile. Let me know if you have any questions or concerns or if you find a bug with the new version of the forum. --Mortica
  5. 2 points
    Julilee dropped into a crouch, thrusting her empty hand toward the larger beast. The force of her will focused the Light into a stunning cascade that fell onto the creature, knocked it off course, and stunned it for valuable seconds. At the same time, her sword came up in a thrust at the smaller beast as it pounced from her other side. It twisted to avoid the blade and Juli tried to lunge in the complementary direction, but one of its paws still struck the back of her shoulder, and she was knocked to the sand. She immediately rolled onto her back, bringing Mercy in between her and her foe, but the animal did not truly respect the blade, perceiving it as an impediment more than anything, and pounced heedlessly. Catching its claws with the sword earned a reprieve barely in name as the thing's sheer weight pinned the weapon across her body, only held away by the width of the blade. The outer edge of Mercy digging into her armor was the least of her concerns as the sabertusk bent down, fangs snapping toward her neck, while leaning further onto its front paws, ready to start ripping and shredding. Death stared her in the face, but she had seen worse. Jagged golden lines burst into illumination down Mercy's hilt, crossguard, and blade, and in one motion Julilee heaved the large beast off her in a feat of strength beyond what even her well-developed athletic abilities could do alone. The beast hissed in pain and the smell of burning filled the air as it backed away, while she rose to her feet again, gripping Mercy with both hands. Light wreathed her weapon and forearms. The crowd was cheering loudly now. While the larger beast had recovered, it similarly backed away with newfound respect for its prey. The two seemed to visibly reconsider. "Shoo," she said to them. "Ya gotta kill 'em, Juli!" Tetsujin yelled down from the bleachers nearest to her. Though he couldn't have heard her, and she hadn't gestured at all, he knew her well enough to know what would make her hesitate. Despite her presence in the arena, she barely had the stomach to participate in any of this to begin with, much less when the beasts didn't even want to fight. At least, when she thought about it, which she couldn't help but do as the beasts stared at her uncertainly. Then the trappings of an ethical quandary were, at least ostensibly, shattered as more rocks began to fall. This time they were aimed at the sabertusks, and a few hit. The smaller one snarled up at the audience and turned to look at Juli again. Its rising aggression chose the only target available, and it lunged across the sands for her again, the larger one right behind. This time she didn't try to dodge; she lunged forward instead, Mercy leaving trailing ribbons of Light as she swung it, two-handed, down at the oncoming beast. It ducked its head as they met so she only scored across its back, but its true strategy quickly became apparent as it tossed its head in the next moment, scooping her up with its tusks and sending her flying. The crowds shrieked. The second beast was there to catch her. It leapt and its jaws closed around her arm, nearly dislocating her shoulder as she landed heavily. But it wasn't her main sword arm, her sword was free, and its neck was exposed. Pulling against its grip to keep it occupied, she brought Mercy across and opened its throat with one clean slice. A river of red joined the spatters on her armor. The thing gurgled, jerked away, and fell. Pain raked down her legs. The smaller beast had pounced her again and its wicked claws, finally put to full use, pierced the metal of her armor like a tin can. Juli gritted her teeth and tried to kick at it unsuccessfully. It seized her leg in its mouth and started dragging her. Juli swung Mercy but it flinched away without relinquishing its grip, and placed a giant paw on her side, ready to try to tear her apart by brute force. It probably had the strength to do so. She didn't want to use any more Light, but she had to. She closed her eyes. A brilliant flash directly beside its head blinded and disconcerted the beast, making it drop her leg and flinch away. Juli opened her eyes and swung Mercy to cut deeply into its front leg. With a snarl it snapped at the blade and achieved a grip on it that almost took it out of Juli's hands, but not quite. Instead she let the beast's strength pull her toward it and help her plant an armored boot in its jaw. There was an audible crack as a tooth snapped, and she jerked Mercy free, then thrust its point into the beast's chest as it reared. She must have found its heart as it collapsed on her immediately. "Juriel! Juriel!" It took some effort to shove the beast's heavy body off and rise to her feet, bleeding, but she did. She closed her eyes again as she listened to the crowd's chanting. She wanted it to feel exciting, glorious, or even at least satisfying to have triumphed once more and be standing under the weight of the crowd's adulation, but instead, it didn't feel like anything. All she could feel was that the reservoir of Light inside of her was lower than before. Tetsujin jumped down to the sounds next to her. She knew it was him without looking. "Good job, Juli," her manager said. He chuckled. "Hope ya ain't too mad at me for the surprise, but I knew ya could handle it." "Yeah," she said, after a moment, opening her eyes again. Her gaze fell on the two downed beasts. Arena organizers were coming to drag the bodies away. "I can handle anything." She turned to walk away, back toward the backstage area. "Hey!" Tetsujin called after her. "Don't sound so happy about it!" "I'm going to go meditate," she replied without turning. "Make sure no one bothers me, please." "Ya and yer meditation," he said without bitterness. She could barely hear him over the crowd as she walked away. "Should celebrate more, what's the point if ya don't enjoy it!" Wasn't that the question. He would be enjoying his portion of the proceeds from today's fight quite thoroughly later tonight. Juli looked down at her red-streaked armor and weapon. If she'd still worn a tabard, it would have been soaked and shredded. With nothing to fight for now, she found herself fighting anyway. "Because I'll never give up," she said, her voice not nearly loud enough to carry back to him over the crowd. He didn't seem to be expecting a response and didn't miss one, busying himself talking to the arena organizers. She left the roaring arena and went to be alone.
  6. 2 points
    "They're animals! Scare them!" Tetsujin tried to yell at her. He'd learned a long time ago that she ignored most of his directions, but that didn't stop him from trying. Lately, she couldn't even hear him over the crowd - or at least that was her excuse. "Hit that belly spot again, it's already bleeding! Don't give it time to heal! Smash it in the head or something!" He could barely hear himself yelling over the sound of the crowd. When the drums got faster, Tetsujin turned his deafened shouting at them in frustration. "SHUT UP!"
  7. 2 points
    They emerged onto a large balcony. It jutted over the edge of the tier and had a view of a section of the city, as well as the jungle-covered inclines that lay beyond. Further out, the jungle appeared to melt into swamplands. Pterodons wheeled overhead, and the sounds of the city drifted upward. Kex'ti stepped up to the railing and wrapped his grip around it. Juli looked at his hands, seeing the finger he was still missing, and the ring he still wore. "Are you happier here?" she asked, remaining behind and to the side of him. He didn't answer the question, because since when did he answer any question that made him slightly uncomfortable. Instead he tried to find the words to speak of what preoccupied him the most about her reappearance, in his meandering way. "Last I heard, you had been lost in Silithus. And it was not someone from Sanctuary that told me this, but... I am tremendously relieved that you are alive, and were not lost to that cursed place." He grimaced. "I'm sorry if you were worried," Juli said. "It wasn't intentional." "What do you want from me, Juli?" he asked simply. He turned and scrutinized her. She didn't know what he was looking for. Any sign of the taint of the Void? She knew he feared that above anything else. Any hint of the woman he had loved, and who had loved him? She knew it wasn't there in her eyes anymore, whatever he had once seen, though it could very well have as much to do with the knowledge in his gaze as the knowledge in hers. The time they had spent apart had been instructive to them both. If you set someone free and they don't return, that means you were only holding them back. "I wanted to say I'm sorry I never loved you as much as you loved me," she said. He was floored. All he could say was, "What happened to you?" She moved up to the railing beside him and folded her arms on it, looking out but not really seeing anything. Her mind went back to the moment everything changed. The six months that followed had changed her too, but not as much as that moment had. "I came face-to-face with the Void, and it... made me see things differently. I was almost lost to it, Kex'ti. I'm sorry I never really, fully understood your aversion to it before. In the end I had two choices: the Void or the Light. I chose the Light and survived." At her hip, Mercy glowed softly with its jagged lines of gold energy that were no longer just energy. Now the purified weapon glowed with the Light, and so did she. It shone in her eyes and flowed through her constantly, an aura she couldn't turn off. The goblin hadn't been wrong. She was a paladin now. Kex'ti's expression softened. He hadn't missed the difference in her. "I am glad you made the right choice." He thought for a moment, then said, "You do not need to apologize. Love is not a matter of magnitude... and I do not even think it is true. We both made errors in our relationship. Am I happier? No. I am not. But I am also less sad, and frustrated." "You're kind to put it that way," she said. "But I think we both know it was my fault it didn't work. I just want you to know I don't blame you." There it was. She had said it, most of it. She had walked straight out of hell and to him because nothing had mattered more than lifting whatever she could of the burden that she had so unfairly placed on him. If she had died down there, her ghost would have been haunted with the knowledge of the guilt she had inflicted on him, unjust and undeserved. Looking at him, she wondered if it helped. He didn't look dumbstruck anymore, just calm. Maybe it would sink in over time. "I appreciate that. I hope things have improved for you since Sanctuary. I do not imagine it has without you." He lifted a hand from the railing and put it back, watching the birds. "Are you happier?" "I only just got back," she said. He didn't know how true that was. "This is the first thing I'm even doing. Next will be Rylie... if I can communicate with her safely." He nodded. "That is a large part of why I am here, so obviously present in the military. So as not to paint a target on her back. Or draw question to my loyalties. It might be advisable you do the same." "I just don't want her to think she's been abandoned," she said quietly. He scowled. "I have tried to get mail to her. I do not know if it has arrived." Changing topics swiftly as he did when he was irked, he said, "What will you do next?" "After trying to get word of my own to her... I'm not sure." He coughed and reached for where he used to keep his medicinal jug at his waist. It was not there. "Ah. I left my medicine back inside. It was... good to see that you are alive. I am sorry for the troubles you have faced." She listened as he prepared to end the visit, to separate himself from her. She watched as he stepped away from the railing, taking a couple steps back toward the guildhall. Every move he made was so familiar to her. Even with his lost weight, every plane of his face was embedded in her memory. Every twist of his mouth, every furrow of his brow, every pitch in his voice, she knew. But it was like watching him through a window. They couldn't reach each other. So it was just as well he didn't want to anymore. He turned away, but then he stopped. Without looking at her, he spoke. "I never stopped loving you, or believing in you. I just couldn't stomach that one decision you made. I am sorry that choice led you to the path you had to walk, but I hope it brings you purpose and peace. For myself, I often wonder if those things exist. But at least for you, if they exist, I believe you'd be the one to find them." And that was why she'd had to come tell him this. Because he would have kept putting up with her, with far more than he should have, if she had not pushed just a little too far. And then she had accused him of not loving her enough. "You did always love me more than I deserved," she murmured. "Maybe," he said. Before he began to move, he remarked, "Do not endanger Rylie because of a guilty conscience." Then he waved his hand and headed inside. Once, that would have been more than sufficient to offend her. It didn't. What he thought of her didn't matter. Whether he was right or wrong to think it didn't matter. She had done all she could here. The rest was out of her hands. She looked once more over the view. It held nothing of interest. She left Warscar Reach's hall. [[ Written in conjunction with Kexti. ]]
  8. 2 points
    She'd also forgotten what pork tasted like. After journeying north into Durotar, she'd killed a boar, then cooked it over a proper fire. While the meat sizzled and browned, she'd stared at it, struggling with a sense of unreality. Dissociation, she told herself. She'd heard the term somewhere, probably in a leadership course or other schooling her privileged upbringing had provided, but like many other things, she hadn't understood it until she experienced it. Pork didn't really taste special. It was just meat. In the fading light of the evening, Juli inventoried her possessions. She carried very little. Her sword, Mercy; her armor, with the padding she wore underneath; and the contents of her pack, which was at this point only a short rope, a knife, a patched waterskin, a well-used sharpening stone, and five gold pieces. If she continued to Orgrimmar, she could access her accounts and purchase anything at all she needed. She could commandeer a mount, sleep in a bed, replace her shield. She thought about it, then laid back on the hard-packed dirt and stared up at the sky until stars began to twinkle into existence. The sight wasn't as reassuring as she had hoped. It wasn't really anything. It was just the night sky, which was to say, more an infinite void than anything else. "I'm alive," she whispered. The void did not answer. That was a welcome change.
  9. 2 points
    Months ago... Julilee arrived in Silithus, alone. She had bruises under her jaw, above the collar of her armor. “Julilee Liene reporting for Sanctuary,” she said. The overseer she spoke to, a goblin, looked her up and down. They stood at the edges of a busy camp, the makeshift command yurt behind him strung with contraptions of unknown purpose. This had been where she’d been directed upon arrival. “Yer all they sent?” he said, tilting his hard hat back. “We asked for three, and apparently we’re gonna need a whole damn platoon, so you’re definitely not going to cut it, short stuff.” Juli didn’t comment on a goblin calling her short. She barely commented at all. “What’s the situation?” she asked. “Mining accident, with a special voidy bonus,” the goblin replied. “My team was mining up Azerite, and broke into some sort of underground chamber. Thought we’d find some good bug artifacts in there, but what we got was abominations.” He frowned, a hint of uneasiness in it. “I was actually plannin’ on increasin’ my request... A few Horde soldiers volunteered to go in this morning for a little extra grease, if you catch my drift. Clean things up. Shouldn’t’ve been too hard. But they never came out.” Julilee looked toward the mine. This particular operation was a distance away from the wound in the world, but the earth had heaved here enough to expose some underground caves the goblins had eagerly turned to exploiting to get deeper faster. The caves had probably been part of a buried Qiraji hive. The mine entrance was guarded by a couple of uneasy-looking Horde soldiers. At this hour, the shadow from the gigantic sword was fallen over where they stood, and the cavernous black hole of the entrance seemed to swallow far too much light in that shadow. “How many hours ago?” she asked. It was past noon. “Two and a half. You’re not going in there, are you?” he said, incredulously. “They could still be alive,” she said. “Not likely, shorty! And I’m not payin’ you to go in there either, if that’s what you’re thinking. That’s just throwing good gold after bad.” “I don’t want your Light-damned gold.” Juli continued looking toward the mine’s opening. Her cold, flat words confused the goblin to silence. She spoke again, after a moment. “How many people can you help if you don’t ever help anyone?” “What?” he said, baffled. “If I don’t come out, detonate explosives and collapse it.” She walked toward the mine.
  10. 2 points
    In that moment, the world was irreversibly changed for her. You can’t unsee the abyss. You can’t unknow the truth. No matter how hard you tried to repress it, no matter how much you tried to deny it, it would haunt you forever. Juli saw it and knew, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that nothing would ever be the same. Kex’ti’s fear, his unwillingness to slide so much as an inch closer to that edge, was so much clearer to her now. She had understood it, but she hadn’t known it. Every pretension she had, every self-delusion, no matter how innocuous, every coping mechanism she relied on, all were stripped away. She saw herself and indeed the whole world and uncaring universe laid bare, reduced to an absurd meaninglessness. Of course the world was uncaring; she had never labored under the belief that anyone would necessarily get what they deserved, be it good or bad. She knew evil could triumph anytime, any place, and that it would be forever and thankless a struggle for anyone trying to hold it back. But she had never realized it was also a pointless struggle. No matter how much suffering you tried to alleviate, more would take its place, because evil was endlessly inventive and adaptive. And in the end you died and whatever difference you had made would end up being less than negligible. But worse, somehow, was how all the things she had tried to accomplish, everything she had ever tried to be, was all shown to be utterly foolish, self-centered, and inadequate. Her own uncharitable thoughts, even what she had believed were her deepest fears, were nothing compared to the truth. She had never loved Kex’ti. She had only used him to placate her need for control, and he had allowed it until he couldn’t anymore. She had never treated Shokkra like a person. She had tried to turn Shokkra into what she had thought Shokkra should be, sacrificing everything Shokkra was along the way, until Shokkra broke. She had done more than simply been too cautious with Sanctuary. She had ruined a legacy, dragged it backward and done significant harm it would take long to recover from, if it ever fully did. She had been too hard on Cerryan; she had revoked her trust simply because he was imperfect. Cobrak, meanwhile, she had also expected too much of. She had expected him to place her needs above his own. The list went on and on. Even with Miwanza, she hadn’t come down here for the girl’s benefit, or any of the others’. She had come down here to selfishly prove herself. That was all there was to it. And with her father, for whom she’d never been good enough, the truth was she was just… Oh, fuck you. The reflex was so deeply ingrained, it was inseparable from who she was as a person. Her entire body jerked. No one was allowed to touch that nerve. It didn’t matter who. It didn’t matter why. It didn’t matter even if they were right. Nobody got to diminutize what she had gone through growing up. Nobody got to break her down like her father had always tried to. She was entitled to defend herself. And fuck anyone who suggested otherwise. Just fuck them right in the eye with a jagged sword. She reached out, and her hand closed around the wickedly curved hilt of Mercy. Golden light surged down the blade, purging the tentacles which shrieked as they were dispelled. It filled up the weapon and all of the eyes hovering around shrank back as she pulled it free. Maybe it was all pointless. Maybe she could never make a difference. Maybe she would never do more help than harm in the world. But fuck anyone and anything who tried to convince her to give up. She would die fighting, with her soul intact, because no one would ever convince her to hand it over. The righteousness, the strength, the self-belief, she seized it. ******* When Miwanza awakened, she had no idea where she was. It seemed to be the bottom of some caved-in ruin, stonework on one side and a huge mountain of rubble on the other. There was a torch lying nearby, barely an ember left on it, but she was able to coax it to life with the shreds of some purple fabric that was discarded next to it for some reason. She started climbing, trying to find an exit, guided by the faintest whisper of a breeze. If there were other whispers, she didn’t hear them. It took hours of squeezing through narrow gaps and crevices, but Miwanza eventually broke through to a ravine that was open to the sky. From there she was able to follow it until it became shallow enough that she was able to climb out, and from there she wandered until she came across a Horde camp. “Whoa, what happened to you?” the guard said in alarm, ushering her to a bench. “Alliance hit?” “No… I don’t think so…” Miwanza looked down at herself. She was covered in a layer of dirt and had a bandage wrapped around her leg, though she felt no pain. Later, she would discover there was no injury beneath. “...But I don’t remember what happened.” The guard took a closer look at her and frowned. “Are you glowing? You didn’t try that Azerite brew, did you?” “I don’t think so…” She looked down at herself again. She had thought the torch had been her only source of illumination, but she did seem to be giving off a faint golden glow. As she watched, it faded away, leaving just her dark blue complexion. “Some sort of blessing,” said another guard who had shown up to see what was happening. “You don’t remember anything?” the first guard asked. She shook her head. “The last thing I remember is arriving here in Silithus with my platoon.” No one was ever able to puzzle out what happened. The Alliance were named likely suspects when her squadmates were discovered missing. The incident was soon forgotten.
  11. 2 points
    Juli didn’t have much of a choice. She raised Mercy and delivered a solid thwack with the side of the blade to the girl’s head. Miwanza crumpled and Juli scooped her up, throwing her over her shoulder and running for the far side of the dais. Probably should have done that in the first place. Except now she couldn’t hold up her shield, or fight effectively. And the fallen torch’s light didn’t reach far. No, this plan had far too many problems, but it was the only one she had now. You – can’t – flee – from – what – you – believe – She stumbled down the other side of the dais and fetched up against the wall, which she could barely make out. Ancient tapestries crumbled to dust under her touch. She started following the wall, feeling frantically for any exit. Slithering sounds surrounded her and she unintentionally stepped on another tentacle, quickly grinding it to pulpy sludge with her boot. A swipe around her with Mercy had several more barely-visible tentacles dodging back. Luckily, the golden light the blade gave off wasn’t bright enough to illuminate them. She wasn’t sure what they would do if they reached her even if they couldn’t hypnotize her, though. Her hand on the wall suddenly plunged into nothing. An exit! She threw herself toward it, only to bounce ringingly off a wall just inside. It wasn’t an exit. It was just an alcove. Juli stumbled back, and that was when a tentacle wrapped around one ankle. She was just starting to react when it gave a heave and pulled her feet out from under her entirely. She lost her grip on Miwanza as she fell, the girl’s limp body slamming Juli’s head into the stone floor and stunning her. When she regained her senses a few moments later, she had lost her shield but somehow retained her grip on Mercy, and was dangling upside-down in the air, being drawn away from the flickering torch and toward the corner of the room where the mass was. With a grunt she pulled herself up and sliced at the tentacle around her ankle by feel alone. It loosed her, and she braced herself for a rough landing, but instead landed in what felt like a nest of writhing, slimy tentacles. Light help me. As she struggled to right herself, throwing off tentacles and slashing out with her bright blade, it occurred to her in a wry corner of her mind not currently occupied with fighting for survival that this would undoubtedly make a retroactively hilarious story, someday down the line, to share over a cup of strong liquor with Kex’ti – no, Shokkra – no, Cobrak – no, who? Who would she laugh about this with someday, if she made it out of this? Who would care? Nobody would care. “Get out of my head!” she shouted as she struggled, infuriated her thoughts had once again been pushed in this unwanted direction. We – need – do – naught – your – own – battles – are – fought – In the very faint outlines provided by Mercy’s glow, a great stalk rose up in front of her, twice as wide as she was, thought admittedly she was rather small. At the end, a great orb turned towards her. Juli didn’t wait to see any more. She lunged forward and plunged her blade into the center of it. You – bring – us – power – it – we – will – devour – From the edges of the wound sprung more tentacles. No – they sprung from her sword. Juli jerked her hand back in horror as Mercy’s golden glow was replaced by a vivid purple that grew brighter and brighter as more and more tentacles swarmed out of the sides of the blade. Very clearly released. Her mind leapt to the battles against Karthok and his minions, where Mercy had seemed to harmlessly absorb several void attacks. It hadn’t been harmless at all. All this time, she had been carrying around a void-infused weapon. What have I done? How had she not known? Had it been manipulating her? Let – us – show – you – what – mercy – is – true – Too late, she realized that the illumination was too great. She should have closed her eyes immediately. But, still shocked, she didn’t. And she met the gaze of a hundred black eyes.
  12. 2 points
    Miwanza described it as, of course, an unfathomably hideous tentacle beast with far too many eyes. Juli didn’t know what she expected. All Miwanza could really offer other than that was that meeting the gaze of one of the eyes had spelled doom for her companions. Miwanza had only barely avoided doing so, since to gaze upon the mass was to almost assuredly ended up catching the gaze of one of the eyes; only her companions’ reactions, in front of her, had saved her, as they had commanded her attention and at the same time clued her in to what was happening. “All right, here’s what we’ll do.” Juli looked toward the shadows ahead in the antechamber. Apparently the thing lurked in the next room; they speculated it was immobile, relying on its prey to come to it. “You’ll hold the torch, and I’ll guide you – you’ll be blindfolded.” “Blindfolded? But wait, you won’t be?” Both options seemed dismaying in their own way to the girl. “Yes. I’m going to use my shield to block my vision where needed, and find us an exit. If I stop talking and guiding you at any point… try to smack me in the face, with the torch.” Juli inhaled slowly. “I’ll take being blind over insane.” Miwanza hesitated, then nodded, firming her grip on the torch. “All right. Let’s do this.” Juli had used up most of the roll of bandage, and wasn’t sure the gauze would be thick enough if not layered adequately, so had already decided what she was going to do for a blindfold. She sheathed her weapons and took hold of the hem of her purple and gold tabard. Tearing upward, she pulled off a long strip. One of the wings of the phoenix emblem came off with it. Now how is it supposed to fly? She ignored the nonsensical thought as she had Miwanza bend down so she could securely tie the improvised blindfold around the girl’s head. The whispers were getting louder; more eager. She redrew her weapons, and felt better with Mercy in her hand. They set off toward the end of the antechamber. A wall with a wide archway appeared, separating it from the next room. The stonework was still absent of the black chitinlike corruption, but the whispers were growing louder and louder, no longer in small degrees, but in leaps and bounds as they drew closer. Below it, Juli thought she might be hearing disturbing slurping sounds. There was no point in hesitating. Juli took the girl’s arm with her sword hand, lifted her shield and darted into the room. The torchlight danced madly, illuminating a space smaller than the antechamber – a throne room? There was a dais at the end with some objects atop it, but that wasn’t where the creature was. To their left, the light gleamed on hundreds of orbs and Juli threw her shield up between herself and it before she was sure what she was seeing. Backing away from that direction, she looked around, trying to see if there was another exit. Miwanza, making small sounds of fear, gripped Juli’s arm tightly and almost trod on her feet as she followed Juli’s lead. What – do – we – spy – with – our – countless – eyes – The voice was both inside and outside of her head. “Nothing to see here,” Juli said through gritted teeth. There was no exit on the right side of the room, but maybe there was behind the dais. Juli tugged Miwanza that way, angling her shield. She heard sickening slick noises and strained to determine if they meant the thing was moving. The acoustics of the chamber if not the echoing whispers made that impossible. As they reached the dais, something slid up to her foot, under her guard. She didn’t think; she stomped it to bits. The texture was wretched. “Up!” she urged Miwanza. “Five steps!” Miwanza stumbled as she went up, breaking from Juli’s grip but catching herself. Juli swept Mercy under her shield preventatively, and thought she felt the tip of the blade slide through something that gave almost no resistance. Like, maybe, an eyeball. “Juli?” Miwanza cried. You – saw – all – before – remember – so – much – more – “Keep going!” Juli backed up the steps, keeping her shield up and using every sense she could to try to catch any more tentacles that might encroach. Not being able to look went against every instinct she had. Look out, look out, look out. She bumped into Miwanza, who wasn’t moving. Juli whipped her head to look at the girl, suddenly fearing the girl had somehow become transfixed despite the blindfold, but there were no tentacle stalks near the girl. Nonetheless, she wasn’t moving. “Miwanza! Keep going!” Juli tried to give her a shove, but in response Miwanza simply dropped the torch. It continued to burn, but the light was dangerously dimmer. The – inner – eye – is – where – truth – lies – “I saw it,” Miwanza breathed. “I saw it, before. I ran away, but I remember now.” She reached up. “Miwanza, no!” The girl ripped off the blindfold and smiled beatifically past Julilee.
  13. 2 points
    “First, though, let’s see if I can bandage that wound better for you,” Juli said. Miwanza nodded and sank down against the pillar. Juli gave her the torch to hold and started unwrapping the bandage. “How come you came by yourself?” Miwanza said. She paused. “I mean, it’s very brave, but… didn’t it seem risky?” “Someone else was going to come with me originally,” Juli said as she worked. She didn’t know why she said what followed. “But she felt I was going to betray her, so she attacked me, disabled me, and took off.” “Why did she think that?” Miwanza said, somewhere between curious and alarmed. Juli was silent for a moment before answering, working on unbuckling the girl’s leg plate and setting it aside. “She thought she wouldn’t get a fair trial for something she’d done which others viewed as a crime. I thought she would, but… I guess I don’t blame her.” “Sounds like you two have a complicated relationship,” Miwanza offered. “You could say that.” “Is she the one who gave you those bruises?” Juli paused in the middle of getting out her water canteen, one hand rising reflexively toward the bruises under her jaw. It was a lucky guess. “Yes,” she said. “If, um, she was going to be put to trial, why were you two coming here…?” Juli considered what to say. She had already said all that, so why not the rest? “It was going to be our last assignment together. I resigned from my post as leader of my guild. I just… wanted one last chance to feel like I was carrying out Sanctuary’s mission, the way I’d always envisioned it, with someone I always hoped could see it the same way.” “I’ve heard of Sanctuary,” Miwanza said, perking up. “You want peace between the Horde and the Alliance, don’t you?” Juli sighed inwardly as she cleaned the wound. “We want peace for everyone, regardless of faction,” she said, the correction one she had given more times than she could count. Then she paused, realizing she was speaking as though she were still part of Sanctuary. “Or at least, that was my vision. I don’t know how good a job I did of getting anyone closer to that while I was in charge. But I’m not going to try anymore.” “You’re giving up?” “On some things,” Juli said. She reached into her satchel and pulled out a roll of bandage. “I’m not going to try to lead anymore. I could never really inspire anyone. Not their confidence, not their hope, not anything. So I’m just going to do whatever I can until I can’t anymore.” She started wrapping Miwanza’s leg tightly. “So you came down here on pretty much a suicide mission.” Miwanza gave a rueful laugh. “Do you even expect to get out of here alive?” Despair underlaid her words. Juli looked up at the girl. “I will die trying to get you out of here alive,” she said quietly, “but dying is the very last option, and not one I’ll be throwing myself at. You can’t help anyone if you’re dead.” “You sound like you’ve said that before,” Miwanza said, the words calming her somewhat. “Someone said it to me years ago,” Juli said. “And it stuck… maybe too much. I was too cautious, for too long. An entire guild’s lives were in my hands. One bad call and I could lose someone who trusted me, right?” She was silent for a moment as she worked, tying off the bandage. “But Sanctuary needed to take those risks. We weren’t Sanctuary unless we did.” “Like Aerie Peak,” Miwanza said. Juli stopped again, looking up at the girl. “People still talk about that?” she said. “I was at the Wyvern’s Tail once when some Grim came in, and they mentioned it,” Miwanza said. “I found the official Horde report later and read it. The Grim said you attacked them, but according to the report, you stated that you only stood in defense of Alliance civilians and noncombatants when the Grim attacked. People say a lot of things about Sanctuary, but… I’ve seen what the Grim have done… I wouldn’t put it past them to do that.” “Yes,” Juli said. “The town’s soldiers were mostly away, leaving only children, elderly, the infirm, and other noncombatants… There were only a handful of us Sanctuary, and a whole squad of Grim. But we chose to make a stand, even though we were outnumbered.” She remembered the clash of her and Khorvis’ blades. Lilliana’s twisted face as she flung dark magic. Cerryan’s bright cries. The surety that had rung in her heart, the utter lack of regret even when things were at their bleakest. “But things changed after that… No, I changed. I became unwilling to take any more risks. I was too afraid that someone else would pay the price if I was wrong.” “But you were just saying you can’t help anyone if you’re dead,” Miwanza pointed out. She helped with her free hand as Juli buckled the leg plate back on. “So being cautious isn’t unreasonable.” “Yes,” Juli agreed. “But you can’t help anyone if you never help anyone, either.” She rose to her feet and offered Miwanza her hand. Miwanza clasped it and Juli pulled the girl to her feet. With the new, tighter bandage, she seemed more stable. Miwanza tested her weight on it and seemed satisfied. She still wouldn’t be leaping across any chasms, but she could get around. “I’m not responsible for anyone else anymore,” Juli said. “Just myself. So I’m going to take those risks now that I always should have. I’m not going to run toward death, but I’m not going to always run away from it, either. That’s why I’m here. I won’t let you down.” “If you say so,” Miwanza said with a weak chuckle. “I’m not going to look a gift boar in the tusks. If we get out of here alive, I’m not gonna argue with whatever philosophy you used to do it.” The whispers had quieted while the two spoke. It had been a welcome break, but suddenly Juli had the feeling that they had been listening. Well, it wasn’t anything that hadn’t already been in her mind, on which the shadows had already played. And, as always, the only way to go was forward. No matter what lay behind, she had to keep moving forward, because giving up was never an option. “Keep the torch,” Juli said. “I’ll need both my arms to fight. What can you tell me about the thing ahead?” The whispers were growing loud again as she drew her sword and shield. The bright, jagged lines on Mercy gleamed golden in the darkness. “Oh, you’re a paladin!” Miwanza said, her voice rising with real hope for the first time. “Maybe you really can beat this thing!” “...” “What?” Miwanza blinked. “Just tell me what this thing looks like.”
  14. 2 points
    From there, the pathway didn’t fork anymore. It was a blessing because she didn’t have to worry about losing her way, but a curse because she didn’t have concentrating on not losing her way to keep her distracted from the whispers. She spent some time thinking about how to get back across the treacherous cavern on her way out. Once she had a few basic ideas about that, she didn’t have much else to try to anticipate or plan. She found herself wondering what the outside world do if she never came out. How many weeks would it be before someone went into her office to try to figure out what mission it was she’d mentioned to Vilmah? Would anyone try to follow her down into this damned place? Or would they assume she’d just run off with Shokkra? The whispers loved that train of thought, so she tried to think of a new one. A distraction came in the form of the walls and floors. The reddish, bulbous, silithid-made appearance of the surfaces was changing. It was becoming darker, and glossier. Her sabatons made a slightly different sound on them. They clicked more. She paused to inspect a particularly bulbous pustule once it had all become very shiny and black, bringing her torch nearer to it. Deep within, the blackness contracted as the torch neared. It was an eyeball. She flinched back instinctively, but nothing happened. After a few moments to calm her thoroughly unnerved heart, she continued on. Something loomed in the path ahead. She couldn’t quite figure out what it was for a moment, only able to perceive a strange shadow lying in the way, before it clicked. It was a chasm. The earth had been split here, this far beneath the surface, the rending wide enough that she had to get close to the edge before the circle of light her torch provided illuminated the opposite side. The bottom of the chasm, she couldn’t see at all. A breeze stirred the torch’s flame, ever so slightly, though she couldn’t feel it. Did the opening go all the way up to the surface, somewhere? Even if it were impassable to anything but a breeze, the fresh air was welcome. The whispers seemed quieter here. She considered her options. It was a noteworthy distance across, but she suspected that with a running start, she could make it. However... she wasn’t entirely sure. But other options did not seem promising. She had brought no rope, and an inspection of the walls and the edges showed that there would be no climbing sideways or down, the material too slick and sheer to promote a safe hold. If she wanted to continue, across was the other way to go. There were three more Horde soldiers unaccounted for. They could very well be at the bottom of this chasm, so far as she knew. Or, this chasm could have only opened up with the last earthquake in that cavern of impalement. Or, the chasm had been here, but they’d made it across. Or, they could have gone a completely different direction. Well, there was only one way to find any of that out, wasn’t there. She backed up a distance, then started for the edge. However, she didn’t run at full speed, and slid to a stop before the edge. She was half-expecting a tentacle to try to lash up at where she would have been mid-jump. But nothing happened. The whispers didn’t even change. Am I too paranoid? Or am I the only one prepared? You’re always the former until you’re the latter. She backed up again, and this time ran as hard as she could. Her footing at the edge almost gave out under her as she leapt, but she was still able to get enough of a launch to just barely make it across, her feet landing inches ahead of the gap. She pounded to a stop, looking back. The gap looked wider from this direction. She kept going. It suddenly changed. In a transition spanning only a few feet, the material surrounding her shifted from the black, organic (?) material to gray stonework, tendrils trailing into it then disappearing. It was an ancient, deeply buried ruin. She lifted her torch higher as she stepped into the area, looking around. It seemed like some sort of grand antechamber, wide, with dual rows of pillars reaching to the ceiling. The whispers echoed, here, like she was hearing them with her actual ears. Realizing that was also when she realized that she could hear again, and that she had been able to for some time. It was enough to give her pause, and wonder what else she’d missed. But all she could do was try to pay as close attention as she could to her surroundings, and she did as she moved forward, casting her gaze about, aware that there were many directions with much cover that something could appear from. Then a muffled sob came from one side. As much as she had every reason to believe it was a trap, she couldn’t not ensure it wasn’t. Hand on Mercy’s hilt, she moved toward the sound. Sheltering behind the pillar was a troll in Horde armor. She was bunched in on herself, holding a one-handed axe with both hands. She almost leapt at Juli as she appeared, but stopped in confusion at the last moment, stumbling and shrinking away. “What...?” Juli held up her hands, including the one still holding the torch, spreading the fingers a little bit to show it was all she held. “My name is Julilee. I came down here to find you. Are you all right?” she asked. “Are... are you real?” the trolless asked. “Are you?” Julilee replied dryly. “The shadows haven’t stooped to outright illusions yet, but I wouldn’t put it past them.” The trolless didn’t seem entirely reassured by that, but she looked like she wanted to be. She was young, with blue hair and darker blue skin. Her youth made Juli think of Mariz. Mariz could have easily ended up here, had she signed up with the Horde military instead of Sanctuary. But Juli had ended up here too, hadn’t she, because of Sanctuary. Juli wasn’t sure what lesson she was supposed to draw from that conclusion and didn’t have the time to ponder it further. “Look,” Juli said, “I want to get you out of here safely, and your companions if they’re still alive. Do you know where any of them are?” “We lost Mal’lul early in the tunnels,” the trolless said hesitantly, “and Orenzi to the spikes.” She swallowed, still gripping her axe. “Lomar and Kaishu, they convinced me to keep going once we got here... They said that there would be treasure in ruins like these and the goblins couldn’t complain about us helping ourselves down here while we cleaned up the voidspawn... and maybe we’d find something to help us get back through the spikes and the suffocating dark thing...” “What happened?” Juli prompted. “Where are they now?” “We went ahead, and... the voidspawn... it... there was... it was too big. It got Lomar and Kaishu... almost got me...” Julilee nodded. She didn’t press for details. “What’s your name?” “Miwanza.” Juli gave her a closer look. The girl looked scared out of her mind. She also had a bloodied bandage tied across her right thigh. The stumble hadn’t been entirely due to the pulled swing. “How fast can you move, Miwanza?” “Not very,” the girl admits. “I only got away because the... thing... it was occupied.. with...” Juli nodded again, letting the girl know she didn’t need to explain. “There’s a chasm in the tunnel on the way out. I made it across but I don’t think you can with your injury. We’ll need to find something to help us cross it, or another way out of here.” The sheer practicality Juli evinced seemed to be reassuring the trolless that Juli was real, though the situation as described clearly scared her. “What do we do?” she asked. Juli considered that herself. There was no guarantee that any other exit existed. Nor was there that there would be any items they could put to use in these ruins. And it was guaranteed that an enemy lay ahead. But there were literally no other options. “We get past it.”
  15. 2 points
    The path opened up into another large cavern. Juli could tell it was huge by how the small sounds she made, her footsteps and the rustling of her armor, got swallowed up by the dark that her torch couldn’t find the end of. She weighed her options: go through the middle or stick to a wall? In the end she decided to follow the whispers, which led out away from the walls. The soldiers, if they were fleeing in terror, would have taken much the same course anyway. An obstruction appeared – a stalagmite. She moved around it and encountered more, the ground growing thick with them. A natural cavern? She paused to look at one of them more closely. It didn’t appear to be made out of mineral. She hesitated to inspect further, and continued on. Her ears strained to pick out sounds in the dark surrounding her. Even her own movements seemed muffled, and to be growing more so. Only the whispers stayed at the same volume. At first she wasn’t sure if it was an acoustical trick, but eventually she stopped and tapped and her armor to check, and she heard nothing at all. She scanned her surroundings, wary of what this meant. Had she lost her hearing, or was this some new threat? Or both? Then she began to feel vibrations under her feet, rapidly growing stronger. Instinctively, she reached out to steady herself on one of the stalagmites. This proved to be a bad idea as it broke off at her touch, far more fragile than she had anticipated. The rumbling grew heavier, accompanied by a rushing of air, and she turned her head to see a stalactite crash down not far from her. She couldn’t hear it hit, which was disorienting, nor the fragments that she could feel bounce off her armor as she shielded her face. Managing to keep her feet, she started moving quickly, seeking the end of the cavern. With her right arm she drew her shield and held it up to protect herself as more stalactites came crashing down in utter silence. At least one bounced off her shield directly, but other than being jarring, it did no harm, its material far too fragile. While running for cover, Juli almost tripped over another body, this one a female orc. She also wore Horde armor and was impaled on a broken stalagmite, which appeared to have fallen over and shattered in the earthquake. How? Juli didn’t have time to puzzle it out and quickly passed by. Almost all of the spires along the ground had collapsed at that point, and fewer stalactites were falling now. In another few moments, it ceased entirely. Juli slowed to a stop, looking around. Fragments lay everywhere that the torch’s light could reach. The cavern was clear of obstructions now, save for the rubble. But she has a feeling that that wasn’t it. The rumbling started up again. Instinct made Juli break into a sprint. The ground grew strangely mushy under her feet. The debris was disappearing. Absorbed into the ground? Then, the ground grew hard again. She had the weird feeling that the ground was actually changing, and not from her passage of distance, but altogether. This place was all wrong and unnatural. Then a stalagmite erupted from the ground in front of her. She spun, barely avoiding running into it, though she still bounced off the side of it. The soundlessness of it all was as jarring as the impact. It didn’t break, much stronger than any of the ones that had collapsed. Fully capable of impaling someone. It was a new one. It had regrown. She didn’t know if her own wild imagination had supplied the thought or if the whispers did, but couldn’t do anything right then but dismiss it anyway. She kept running. Another one erupted just in front of her, but she saw it coming this time, and leapt over it. Her instincts told her there was going to be more than direction to this threat, and when a spike suddenly speared down down from the ceiling, she was not entirely surprised. She ducked, her short height once again coming in handy for something, and kept going. Several more close calls later, she fetched up against a wall. Quickly reconsidering that, she moved away from the potentially lethal surface and moved to follow the edge at a safer distance. No spikes did end up coming out of the wall, but several more erupted from the floor and ceiling, trying to get her. One scored along the side of her leg but her armor took the scratch. Eventually, she found an opening and ducked in. The spikes didn’t follow, and the rumbling ceased. The whispers flowed down this passage. If there had been more than one exit from the impalement cavern, it seemed she had found the right one. Juli slung her shield back on her back, put her hand on Mercy’s hilt, and continued on.
  16. 2 points
    The narrow entrance led to an even narrower corridor, one that looked like it was created by the earth’s rupturing rather than created by creatures, sentient or otherwise. The cavern it led into, however, was another matter. The torch’s light shone on bulbous walls signature of what one could expect in the zone. Juli moved out into the open, looking for other exits, and the light illuminated three other corridors out of the cavern. From one of them flowed the whispers. Eerily, they sounded like someone she knew, though she couldn’t say who. She put her other hand on the hilt of Mercy and followed them. The path forked; Juli took the one that the whispers were coming from. Then it forked again, and again, and again. She started building herself a mnemonic to remember the path she took: My really lousy rocks reach lower levels… It didn’t make any sense, but that was fine as long as she could remember it. Focusing on the dumb game kept the whispers from encroaching on her mind, too. It seemed odd that the path forked so much. As far as she knew, most silithid hives just spiraled deeper and deeper, without many branching paths at all. And this one just kept going. At one point, she realized she was going in a circle, and was forced to take some time to revise her mental map, figure out where she had started repeating herself, then go from there, finding a passage where the whispers were marginally louder than the one she had been taking. After that, the whispers started becoming a thrumming undertone of too many speaking at once to understand. She chose to not be disturbed by it, determined to get to the bottom of this and find what had happened to the missing soldiers. Her thoughts started wandering as she continued on. There was too much weighing on her mind. Losing Kex’ti, giving up Sanctuary, even Cobrak’s actions. And Shokkra. The more she thought about it all, the more depressed and discouraged she got, her thoughts darkening. Why was she even here? Why was she even trying, when she couldn’t help anyone? Then she realized that those thoughts weren’t her own; they were what the whispers were saying. Anger burned bright clarity back into her mind. She wasn’t going to give up, and she certainly wasn’t going to give up because manipulative entities were toying on her fears. It was at that same moment that she realized the shadows were encroaching on more than her mind. An amorphous blob hovered at the left side of her peripheral vision, and as soon as she realized it was there, she instinctively swiped at it with the torch in her hand. A shriek split the enclosed space and suddenly it was hard to breathe. It occurred to her she didn’t even know how far she was underground and if good air could still reach down there. She could suffocate. She was suffocating. No. More shadows. She drew her sword as the blob recoiled then lurched for her again, and the shining blade sliced right through it. It died with another shriek, and as soon as the sound dissipated, she could breathe again. She took a moment to do just that, as she shifted carefully, looking around for any other threats. She ended up finding a body instead. It was a male troll in Horde armor. His eyes bulged, his mouth agape, as though he had choked to death. His body was cool, but not yet stiff. His companions must have fled ahead and left him to die. Juli turned back toward the whispers and continued.
  17. 2 points
    Juli stood at the entrance to the mine. Besides being unnaturally dark, a chill breeze flowed gently from the cave’s mouth, yet it failed to stir the flames of the torches on either side. That wasn’t the worst part, though. The worst part was the impression of whispers carried on that breeze, like a hushed conversation you were overhearing while asleep and couldn’t make any sense out of. It was no surprise the two Horde grunts guarding the entrance seemed uneasy. They looked at her as she stood there, and as she did, their expressions slowly turned from dubious to bewildered as she did not move for some time. She ignored them, immersed in thought. Eventually, she took out her hearthstone and spoke. “Sanctuary, thank you for the chance to lead you as long as I did. It’s been the most important three and a half years of my life. If you haven’t already heard, I’ve passed the mantle of leadership to Vilmah Bloodborne. I had reached the end of what I could offer Sanctuary, and I know she’ll be able to guide you further than I could. It’s been an honor. Thank you.” When she was done, one of the guards asked with nervous gentleness, “Err, lady, you’re not going in there out of some deathwish, are you?” The juxtaposition of her words, which they could hear, and what she was staring into was rather clear. The other shifted awkwardly, and the first guard went on. “Just take a little time, find someplace to blow off some steam. Go fight in an arena, spend some gold somewhere – fel, go get laid. You’ll feel better and realize you don’t have to do anything drastic.” “How many are unaccounted for?” was all she asked. “Five of ‘em went in,” the other guard said. “Two trolls, two orcs, and a pandaren.” She grunted. “Haven’t heard a peep. Other than...” Her eyes shifted toward the dark of the cave mouth, where the unheard whispers were coming from, and she scratched at an ear nervously. No new information since the request that had come to her desk, then, about what Juli would actually be facing down below. The report had just mentioned voidspawn in a cave the miners had broken into, from which they’d quickly retreated with no casualties. Juli mentally reviewed what she knew and found it wasn’t much. She would have to figure out what was going on herself. “She sure stands around thinkin’ a lot,” the second guard commented to the first. “Someone has to,” Juli muttered, then walked into the cave. She grabbed a torch off the side as she passed by. The guards didn’t stop her.
  18. 2 points
    Somewhere behind dark clouds, the moon was high over Sun Rock Retreat. Rain pattered down onto the dry red dirt, collecting in puddles and dribbling down the sheer cliff faces into the small Tauren village below. Despite the hour and the weather, the distant sound of fighting could be heard echoing from over the canyon walls. And standing above it all, looking down into the village below, was a lone Goblin. A cigar chomped in the corner of his mouth lighting up his face and the pair of goggles resting upon his forehead in an orange-red glow. He’d take a heavy puff from the cigar now and then, drawing on it to keep the dim glowing tip alight despite the rain fighting to extinguish it. With a sigh, he reached into his vest and withdrew a pocket watch, exchanging it to his opposite hand to fling the water that had collected on his fingertips after reaching into his soaked clothing. Lifting the pocket watch to his cigar to cast some light on it in order to read the time. He grunted and rolled his eyes before tucking the watch away once more into the wet clothing from which it had came. “You’re late again.” He commented aloud around the cigar, rolling it from one side of his mouth to the other. Behind him, the sound of heavy steps in the mud grew gradually louder. A Tauren approaching, walking up the steep wet slope of the path that lead to the top of the cliff. “Sorry. Traffic.” Came the flat joke in reply, a smooth baritone voice from the bull that strode toward the Goblin. The Goblin rolled his eyes, visible only thanks to the glow upon his face. But the smirk that pulled at the corners of his lips was obvious. It was short lived though as he pulled a folder from under his arm, tucked into his armpit to keep it at least somewhat dry. It wasn’t particularly effective. Never the less, he held the damp folder up with a full extension of his arm for the Tauren to take it. And as the bull came to a stop at the cliffs edge he took the folder, opening it in a hand. The Goblin reached into his vest to retrieve a flashlight for the bull to read by, but stopped short. Before he could retrieve the flashlight, the Tauren’s fingertips upon his free hand lit up with arcs of blue electricity. His hand raised just high enough to light the pages. Within the folder were photos and documents. Horde insignias marked each page. Post combat reports and debriefings taken by Horde intelligence. Thick fingers paged slowly through the folder, flipping from one page to the next before coming to rest upon a photo. An image frozen in time of the carnage upon the beaches of Darkshore. In the distance, the world tree Teldrassil smoldered, spewing smoke into the sky. The Tauren visibly hesitated, an action which the Goblin recognized. “It’s bad.” Came the thickly accented voice of the Goblin. “Bad is one word for it.” The Tauren replied as he traced a finger along the photo, smearing raindrops across its surface. “It would be ironic for me of all people to say Sylvannas has gone too far.” “But?” “But Sylvannas has gone too far.” The Tauren replied, closing the folder and holding it back out to the Goblin. Realizing that he was done, the Goblin reached up and took it, tucking it back beneath his arm. “So what do we do about it?” “Nothing.” Came the baritone reply. The Goblin blinked, before looking up at the Tauren with a raised brow. “The leader of the Horde is going too far in their conflict with the Alliance. Again. And we’re going to do nothing. Again?” He asked quizzically, wanting to confirm what he’d just heard. “The whole reason myself and the others left was because our fight was over. Our whole intent was to fight the battles the Horde could not. Garrosh made our existence unnecessary. For the Raven Cross to continue would simply mean becoming a part of the greater Horde war machine. This is no different.” The Tauren replied easily, shrugging his shoulders. “And I have no interest in killing a fellow member of the Horde. No matter how despicable they may have become. It should not be our way.” “So we just go back to watching?” A nod of the Tauren’s head indicated his reply. Silence lingered in the air between them for a time. Only the sound of the rain pattering down onto the world around them would fill the air. The goblin stared at the Tauren for a time, before realising that the rain had finally won out against his cigar - it now was dark and wet. Grumbling, he pulled it from his lips and dropped it to the mud, stamping on it with a boot to make sure it stayed out. “What about the others? Have you heard anything about them?” The Goblin asked, shaking his foot to dislodge mud from his boot. “Not for years. We all went our separate ways. I’m not sure about the others that stayed and kept flying the flag, but they’re not in Sun Rock anymore.” The Tauren replied, his eyes on the village below. Even in the dark, the Goblin could make out the sombre look upon his face. “It was for the best for everyone that we stayed out of touch. The Alliance weren’t exactly going to take what we did lying down without looking for revenge. We were a liability to each other.” There was a brief pause, before the Goblin chuckled. “So remind me why we still keep doing these little covert meetings, then?” The grin from the Tauren was visible even in the dark as he turned his head to look down at the Goblin. “Old habits die hard, my friend.” With those words, the Tauren turned and started heading back towards the path up the cliff. “I need to go see Teldrassil for myself. Then maybe I’ll change my mind about our next move. Maybe it’s time.” Nodding his head, the Goblin was silent and watched as his friend started walking away. But before he was out of sight, the Goblin spoke up one last time. “Dio!” The Tauren lifted his head, and in the dark the Goblin could make out the silhouette of the Tauren as he turned his head to look over his shoulder. “It was good to see you. Unulu, too. I’m assuming he’s around here somewhere, at least.” The Goblin remarked. In the dark, his expression unreadable, the Tauren smiled. “Yeah, he’s around. It was good seeing you, too, Chikt. I’m sure we’ll be doing this again soon.” With that, the Tauren continued down the path. And as he disappeared out of sight, the storm went with him.
  19. 1 point
    Hey folks, it’s Gurrah the Gambler here! Those of you who know me or even vaguely recognize my name probably know me best from the “Goblin Interim year 23” started in 2010 as a precursor to the cataclysm release and an introduction to all the Goblins joining in the twisting nether RP community at the time. An epic RP trilogy started by brothers Rikt and Chikt. Over the course of this trilogy I met many amazingly talented writers, some were good from the get go and had the entire story and character development plotted out way in advance (looking at you Rikt and Chikt), others like myself evolved and improved as the stories went on developing both our characters and ourselves as writers. Others swooped in unexpectedly and blew us away with a epic antagonist/protagonist encounters like “Smiles Macblaster” whom to this day has been one of my favorite writers to work with. I remember during the writing of these rp’s I would log in from my trade school when I got out of class every damn day, so excited to see who wrote what and how the story progressed I could barely contain myself. Through these experiences I grew as a writer, I learned where my strengths and weaknesses were and just through working with you was inspired to improve just so I felt worthy playing on the same field as you folks. I realized my strengths were solid in combat scenes and sarcastic humor, I developed ways to show the darker side of my character P.T.S.D, Alcoholism, and haunting memories and regrets from life as an assassin. I learned how to express my character’s point of view in emotional and rational (and occasionally irrational) reactions. Working with you folks helped me develop skills in writing that required more finesse and thoughtfulness than any collegiate writing class had ever taught me. As of now I have long left the depressing swamps of Florida, moved to the Seattle area, and have a beautiful wife whom I get to enjoy the pleasure of writing collaboratively with as a bonding pastime (she’s an absolute bookworm, a status I wouldn’t have been able to impress had it not been for my experiences of writing with you amazing folks.). I still find myself nostalgic and logging back into TNG just to read and re-read the Goblin Rp’s where I got my start writing stories rather than just poetry. To any of the writers I’ve worked with in the past please, reach out to me on here. I would love the opportunity to reconnect and work on more projects together, just send me a message and a link to the story we’ve worked together on and I will get back in touch as soon as possible. I will be logging on to check about once a week, and while I don’t play wow anymore I am working on other non-wow related projects that I would love to work with some folks on. If you have wow stories you’d like help with I can bring in Gurrah the Gambler or other characters for a Cameo or two. To the fellow writers of the Goblin interim stories from 2010, and the others I’ve worked with in the past (looking at you Venedict, also we totally need to meet up again and catch up for old times sake, I haven’t forgotten about you.) Thank you for a fun and memorable experience and helping me evolve as a fantasy writer. if any of you still scout these forums please feel free to PM me. Sincerely, Gurrah the Gambler. Goblin, assasin, smart-ass, and alcoholic.
  20. 1 point
    All the feels. Thanks for everything, guys! You were the best, nothing but love!
  21. 1 point
    You guys were great, thanks for all the memories and such! Sowell/Dobzhansky
  22. 1 point
    It should be enough. It should be enough just to hate. I shouldn't need reasons. Garithos was the reason I offered whenever a reason was demanded. He was reason enough, too. I shouldn't She doesn't understand. Hate is easy. It is warm and strong. It protects from all manner of harm. I didn't need reasons to hate. We were just predators, preying on the weak, the lesser, those who would grow and learn and die too fast to remember the techniques we could focus on for decades. We didn't need reasons. Yes, they gave us reasons, but we didn't need them. They weren't my friends. I didn't lose anyone close to me. Not to them. The only thing that killed them was the Scourge, and the Scourge was what? A disease of the world? Arthas and Kel'thuzad can take a lot of blame for being weak and lesser, for falling for trap after trap after trap. Dar'khan can take some blame, for being power hungry, a grand failing of our kind, and his sweet little mutant children overrunning Stormwind now are what happen when you open the gates for death. But even though they weren't my friends, I was too close to what happened to them. It changed me. It changed what made me hesitate. I was always more violent than not, and though I was never demanding, I resolved I never would be. I would never be like them. I would never take the way they did. I would only destroy. She doesn't understand. How could she? Who does understand? A wolf without its pack is prey, and I've been without my pack for too long. The Grim stands in for them, but the Grim failed me. I was prey. More than once. I've learned not to rely on them. The Grim feed the hate, but they do not understand it. They don't need to. I shouldn't need to. She shouldn't need to. Hate should be enough, in and of itself. It does not need reasons to exist. It only needs to burn. It only needs to consume everything in its path. That's all it needs. She is an obsession, a dangerous path with no way to turn from it. Even if I try, I'll always find myself back on the same road. And I have given her everything. Of my own free will. Everything. Prey again, without my pack. The other needs to ask better questions. I don't think she wants to ask better questions. I don't think she wants what she says she wants, to do something for me, which is good, because she won't get it, but I'll get what I want, words and questions, the sound of my own voice, amusement at what nothing can cause. Be careful giving words too much power. They don't have any of their own. The cat disagrees, but also puts a point on the possibility that the only power they have is mischief. I need to spend a week in Suramar to remember what we should have been, but Feralas calls. I don't need brothers, but I'm glad of them, nonetheless, if only for the hope they give. Yes, hope. I like that people assume I know nothing but ruthless cruelty. I like knowing I can drive hate so easily. That doesn't mean I know nothing of things outside hatred. What do I know? I know more than those who worship at its feet. I know more than those who wear it on their sleeves and on their banners. I know because I run from it and it hunts me down. I know because I do not want it, do not need it, and yet I have it. Killing me with kindness would be much more difficult than even the ridiculousness of the cliché implies. Boring me with kindness might be manageable. I suppose maybe you could bore me to death with it? But even then, either you're the sort of kind hearted person I either destroy or walk away from, or you're not a kind hearted person and I take the opportunity to dismantle your kindness, find the motive in it, make you regret ever having plied me with it in the first place. Or you're the kind of person who's better at playing my games than I am. There aren't many of those, so I don't fear them though I probably should. The team building silliness at least takes my mind off the menacing truths running deep under everything I do these days. I would definitely prefer to watch from the sidelines, but that's better managed when other people are on the dais than when I am. And if it makes them stronger, then so be it. I'll take my loss of dignity and chalk it up to forging bonds or some other useless lie. That Eye is pointless. It saw the obvious but not the dexterous. You can tell the truth and not tell the truth at the same time, and how can one device detect that nuance? You can tell the truths that don't matter and neglect the ones that do. There is a way to get every truth from me, and it is actually quite simple, but who actually finds that much value in truth?
  23. 1 point
    Daçiana laughed and slapped Xara on the back. "I knew I always liked you for a reason!" Xara grinned and flagged the bartender down for another round. As she and the orc handed their emptied mugs over the bar, Xara leaned back, exhaling. "Yer doin' a fine job keepin' up with me here. Been awhile since someone gave me a run fer my drink." "You should've seen me before," Daçiana said. "Tahz gave me this green stuff from his home and I didn't realize you were supposed to sip it slowly. Apparently not doing so kills most people. I downed the whole thing, and it was the first thing that even made me feel it after about ten other drinks." "That's so wild, that you ended up like that," Xara said. "Inside the body of a demon hunter, but in charge?" "It's been a long, strange journey," Daçiana agreed. She turned to put her back to the counter, accepting the mug the bartender handed her with a nod. "But after ten millennia, I'm finally free again, and that's all that matters." Xara paused infinitesimally before she said, "Ain't it, though?" and laughed again. "So what are you up ta these days?" "Just running around with Gunheya," Daçiana said. "Doing whatever we want. Sometimes helping solve problems. Mostly because he wants to." "Mostly, huh?" Xara said, taking a sip of her drink. "Sometimes I worry about the fate of Azeroth and all that," Daçiana said, waving her hand, "but most of the time I don't. I just want to live my life, you know?" "Of course," Xara agreed smoothly. "Do you ever run into anyone else and have ta explain things?" "Not really," Daçiana said. She shrugged. "Most of them wouldn't recognize me, I think. Any of my past Heralds would, most likely, the ones who are alive anyway, and probably Jazziks and Naheal, and maybe a couple others, but the others, they're not as attuned as you." She cast her gaze over Xara. "I still want to know about the blue dog." "She's doing her own thing at the moment," Xara said vaguely. "So Gunheya knows the whole story? Or no?" "I'm not lying to him if that's what you're asking," Daçiana said. "I haven't told him my entire life story but he knows the gist of it. He saw me when I was freed and in my true form, before I fell." Xara frowned, rubbing her head. "That whole thing is sort of a haze to me," she admitted. "I guess dyin' and gettin' resurrected will do that to a person. Thanks fer that, by the way," she added, slowly. "Pretty much the literal least I could do at that point," Daçiana said, tossing back her drink. Xara gave the other female a look of wary surprise, but quickly covered it with a chuckle. "And then ya came back from the dead too -- how?" "It's pretty hard to kill a being like me," Daçiana said. "Goldrinn fell in the War of the Ancients too but you still see him running around. Me, I just fell a little harder, was corrupted for awhile. Then they banished me to the twilight realm, and you know what the deal was for awhile after that. Throwing me into the twisting nether though... If I hadn't been so fel-tainted by then, I probably never would have made it back." She reflected for a moment. "This last time, I barely had the energy to reformulate. It'll be a long time till I'm any power to speak of." "Huh," Xara said with a tone of interest. "And then what?" Daçiana cast Xara an amused look. Setting the empty mug down, she turned to face the other woman, leaning forward. Xara straightened, putting a surprised look on her face, but it wasn't enough. "Don't think I can't tell what you're doing," Daçiana said. "There's more than one way to hunt, and you're particularly good at this one, but you're talking to the embodiment of the Hunt, the Prime Predator, the Beast Who Knows No Fear." Deep in her eyes, locked on Xara's, there was a flicker of an amber flame, not even an ember, but the heart of a fire unextinguished nonetheless. Xara remembered the sound of howling. Then, Daçiana leaned back. "But you don't have anything to be worried about. I don't hunt for no reason anymore. I respect the cycle of nature, I believe in balance and life. All right?" The fear and anger Xara had been studiously hiding, in order to interrogate this being and determine how much of a threat she was, came boiling out in a low spoken statement. "You hurt a lot of people, Accalia." "Don't call me that," Daçiana said, irritated. She didn't look back at Xara. "There's nothing I can do about that now, is there? If anyone wants to come take a piece out of my hide for it, they're welcome to try." The words were pointed. "And now you get to just run around and do whatever you want?" Xara put her mug down on the counter with a clonk. "You don't even feel GUILTY?" Daçiana did look at Xara then, a long, level look. "I am what I am," she says. "You either understand that, or don't." Xara sat back, shocked with understanding. "You're not capable of feeling guilty," she said. "Just like you're not capable of feeling fear." Daçiana cocked her head slightly in acknowledgment. "I'm not happy about what I did these past millennia," she said. "But I'm going to live my life now. And I'm no threat to you, or anyone you care about, and certainly not Azeroth. You don't have to pretend to be happy I'm around. You live your life, and I'll live mine. Deal?" "How do I know you won't someday be a threat again?" Xara said. Daçiana shrugged. "Anyone can fall," she said, "Anyone can get corrupted. Doesn't mean everyone should be destroyed just in case. Trust me, no corruption survived the crucible I went through. I'm surprised I survived." "Pardon me if I don't just take your word for it," Xara said with an edge. Daçiana smirked, flashing a fang again. "Good. There's no one else I'd rather have watching me." She rose from the barstool. Taking out a few gold coins from her pocket, she dropped them onto the counter. Xara rose as well, uneasy about not being on her feet when Accalia -- Daçiana -- was on hers. On the floor beside her stool, Lupa continued to watch warily, but no longer held herself ready to pounce. Daçiana glanced down at the cat and grinned, an amused baring of teeth that the cat didn't react to in the slightest. "By the way, call me Dachi," Daçiana said. With a wave over her shoulder, she turned and walked out of the tavern. "Refill, please," Xara said to the bartender, and sat back down. "And keep 'em coming."
  24. 1 point
    “You should put another lightforge net on that hill. The hunter has claws like steel and won’t be hindered by a brisk climb,” Brinnea gestured with the stump of her right arm. She felt a phantom finger point as well, but where it should have been there was only empty air. Christa pushed the wheelchair and nodded at a pair of squires, who quickly set to work at the fortifications. “That should do for the east side. What about the north?” “Trenches and stakes. The land rolls down naturally, but it’s hard to see as you enter. She’ll be eager to attack after missing me the last time. Maybe we’ll get lucky and she’ll fall in. More realistically, it will make it harder for her to maneuver out of camp.” Brinnea felt the need to stand and stretch her legs. It was a maddening feeling, the desire to move what cannot be moved. Christa made an affirmative noise and passed the order along. The knights following the sisters seemed less than amused by this display. The dwarf man wearing captain’s colors least of all. “I won’t just stand idly while this death knight gives commands," he had said when Brin asked to be shown around. Brin had replied, “I am merely pointing out what should be done to safeguard against a more threatening undead foe. The safest precaution would be to leave me in the river you fished me from.” Christa cut the head off that conversation immediately. “That takes care of the parameter,” Christa said. “Now we need to discuss where you’ll be during all of this.” “Dangling from a gallows like meat for a trap,” Brinnea replied without a trace of sarcasm. “We talked about that plan.” “It’s the smartest play.” “Not for you, it isn’t.” Brinnea huffed. “It’s not as if I can move myself around anyway. Keeping me in clear view at all times will ensure that monster will be visible as well.” Christa gestured to the watchtower at the center of the encampment. “At the top of that, you’ll have walls and archers about to protect you. We knights are the best equipped to kill this hunter. You won’t be in any danger.” “Not until she cuts through your archers. I don’t need anyone risking their lives for mine.” The dwarf cleared his throat. “Don’t I get a say in this?” Christa scowled. “You had your say, Captain Redstone. But I have the command here, and I have elected to ignore your say.” “We are of equal rank, Velmon! And what you intend to do here is a serious waste of Silver Hand resources!” “A powerful undead abomination is coming right for us. You think I intend to miss that opportunity?” “From all we have heard of this monster, it only cares to kill your no-limbed, deadweight sister and anyone who gets in the way of her.” Brinnea sighed. “The creature is erratic, dangerous, and subservient to a deceased witch of the Burning Legion. Without anyone giving her orders, she’s like to go on a mad killing spree in distress. The safest thing is to put her down using me as bait.” The dwarf sniffed contemptuously. “Aye, you’d know all about killing sprees, wouldn’t you, Butcher?” Christa opened her mouth to reply, but Brin cut her off with a pleading look. The older sister composed herself. “My plan shall come in effect. I am taking my sister to the roof of the tower. Captain, you shall remain below to lead the shield wall. Dismissed.” Christa wheeled Brin away, leaving the stout knight with a flustered expression. *** “Why did you come this way, Brinnea?” Christa asked as they watched the sun set from the roof of the watchtower. The pink light painted the clouds a dreamy color. “I wanted to see Andorhal,” Brin answered. One last time. “To what end? Home is long gone. All we can do now is try to build a new one.” “I tried that a few times. I’m no longer built for such endeavors.” Christa had nothing to say to that. Brin looked her sister up and down. She had always been tall and thickset, but now she was stern and proud and full of purpose. The Light had a plan for her. I was left alone in the dark, despite my cries for help. “What will you do about the limbs?” Christa asked. “You death knights have means of replacing them, right?” “I haven’t counted myself as one of the Ebon Blade for years,” Brin said, “I won’t even be able to make my own rune blade, let alone have limbs replaced.” “You must know someone who could fix you up.” Brin smiled callously. “Haven’t you heard? I’m a friendless killer. A butcher of innocents. Even more sinister folk don’t want anything to do with me. I’m a waystone for bad luck.” Christa’s brown eyes flashed angrily. “I’ve had enough of that despairing tone of yours. Even as a little kid you were always moaning about your lot in life. I need a straight answer from you. No bullshit. Did you kill the Gilneans in Valsharah?” “I may as well have.” “Explain. Speak up and look at me when you talk. Were you not forced to kill them by Cynthia?” The witch’s golden eyes flashed in the back of her mind. You wanted it, the eyes said. You enjoyed it. “It’s true that she commanded me to go to the camp. I was to scout the defenses and begin an attack if the opportunity was ripe.” “And did you?” Brinnea nodded. “I didn’t know whose camp it was until I got there. Esmerra.” Brin spat the name hatefully. “She deserved to die. She sacrificed me, my daughter, and Parigan to that black-hearted devil-woman. She deceived us hoping to profit from our deaths.” “So you killed her?” “I did. I called for the demons to attack. I unleashed undead on the town. And when I had her cornered I showed no mercy. She died screaming, torn to shreds by ghouls. And I…I felt light afterwards. Like I’d removed a stain from the world and took a weight off my shoulders. I’m sick, Christa. There’s something broken in me that can’t be fixed.” Tears welled in her eyes. Brin lifted a hand to wipe them away, but there was no hand to lift. She cursed and rubbed her face on her bicep. “I don’t know about all that,” Christa said nonchalantly. “Mother always said if you’re sick, go to the healer.” Brin looked up at her. “What are you saying?” “I’ve known men and women who went mad on campaign in Northrend. They went to a man in the Storm Peaks, and when they returned they were back to normal.” Brin was about to ask more when a shout called her attention to the base of the tower. “She’s coming! She tore the cavalry to shreds! Ready yourselves, fools!” Christa swore. “Damn Redstone! I told him to hold position, not send our heavy horse out to scout!” She picked herself from her seat and took up her mace and shield. She looked at Brinnea with eyes set like stone. “Stay here. I’ll be back soon.” Brinnea felt a rush of panic. You don’t know that, she almost said. Then Christa was gone. It was full dark now, and torches shone across the camp below. Shouts told Brin where to look. The hunter moved like a shadow in a sea of shadows. She came from the east, down the hillside. The lightforged net didn’t trigger, so she must have leapt over it. Bits of armor and weapons rained down on the defenders, forcing them to stay put as the hunter charged downhill on her spiderlike limbs. The archers nocked, drew, and loosed. The hunter took two blessed arrows and screeched angrily but did not slow down. She barreled into the shield wall. Brin had been expecting her to cut through the paladins like she had the mercenaries in Arathi, but these knights were made of sterner stuff, and blessed by the Light as well. The hunter retreated, pelted by arrows and weapons that burned her at the touch. She spouted acid but shields of light kept the defenders mostly unharmed. The hunter limped around the side, aiming to climb the side of the tower no doubt. Christa emerged from the tower with a pair of squires attending her, each armed with a shimmering silver lance. Christa herself looked fierce in silver plate and bearing a heavy oaken shield against the creature. The hunter leapt overhead, but Christa slammed her out of the air. The trio cornered the beast against the side of the tower. She seemed to have damaged her limbs, so the beast could not scamper up the side to escape. Christa stepped back as the archers hailed arrows down on the hunter. With one final ear-splitting scream, it was over. Brinnea let out a breath she hadn’t realized she was holding. Brin had two of the archers help her downstairs to her wheelchair, where Christa met her. “A quick one, that,” she commented simply. “I can see how you had so much trouble, so poorly armed as you were.” Brin smiled. “You’re not even out of breath. I’ll admit, you’ve gotten pretty good at what you do.” Christa smirked. “Well, I haven’t been sitting on my hands all these years, have I? Do you want to see the body? It might set your mind at ease.” Brinnea nodded. When they reached the corpse, Brinnea realized for the first time how young the girl looked. She must have been a beauty at one time, but not her mouth was twice as long as a normal one and her teeth were a jagged ruin of metal shards. Her eyes were black and yellow and lifeless, but Brin could swear she saw a hint of gratitude in them, as if she were happy to finally be at rest. “Christa,” Brin said, “What’s the name of that man in the mountains? The one who cured those soldiers?” “They never mentioned a name,” she replied. “But I can tell you where to find him.” As they returned to the tent Brin was recovering in, the death knight glanced out at the vast, dark fields of Lordaeron. In the distance she saw lights that she knew belonged to Andorhal, the place she once called home. And in that dark distance, she glimpsed a grey figure lope across the field. The wolf looked at her with uncertain eyes. They were eyes that spoke to her clearly. This is not the end of the road.
  25. 1 point
    Down, deep within the sprawl of the Seal's halls, she found the banner the woman had described. An eager-eyed orc stood beside it, dressed in black chainmail with red accents. He addressed her the moment she was in range, before it was even reasonable to assume that his hall was her destination. "Throm-ka, paladin! The Reach could always use more of your kind. Have you come to enlist, following our recent victory?" She continued until she stopped in front of him, her gaze briefly moving to the banner. It was not far removed from the Kor'kron banner Shokkra had kept in her room. To the orc she said, "No, I'm looking for one of your members. Kex'ti, Kex'ti Dalendala." "Dalendala? Oh. Huh. Who're you to him?" the orc asked, hand on his pike. Juli paused, distinctly. Wasn't that quite the question. The answer she finally came up with was, "Julilee Liene. He'll know who I am." "Oh. Uh huh." The orc seemed to know what that meant. "Well, he's back about three torches on the left. Should be sparring with Tulip, Ochiga, Kaeeli, and Gorgath. I'll escort you." He added the very last sheepishly after Juli simply looked at him for a moment, since he stood blocking the doorway. "Thank you." The orc nodded. The thirst for drama was evident in his hurried pace as they entered the Warscar Reach barracks. Past the third torch, the hallway angled down to a veranda with overhanging vines. A sandy ring lay in the middle. A white-haired Sin'dorei stood in the center of the arena, a burly Blackrock orc and a lithe Nightborne strafing around him. He hadn't noticed the newcomers yet. "Think fast, old man!" yelled the Nightborne then, rushing in to take a swing at the back of the elf's head. The orc growled and charged in at the same time, low, aiming to tackle the elf's waist. Outside of the arena, a goblin kicked her feet on a planter, and a pandaren monk sipped at a cup of tea, cross-legged, as they watched the sparring match. Juli stood in the archway and observed. Kex'ti twisted lithely and leaned back to catch the Nightborne's fist, only to spy Julilee as he did so. A moment of confusion crossed his face. "Juli?" he muttered, then the orc's converted uppercut connected with his jaw. The phenomenal strike landed him in the Nightborne's arms, caught and hanging limply by the armpits. "Whoa, hey, wait a second!" called the goblin. "Kex'ti, you alright?" She hopped off the decorative container and walked over, summoning a few drops of healing rain onto the sand. "I wasn't expecting that to work!" boasted the orc. "But... are you okay?" Kex'ti never took his eyes off Juli. He spat some blood into the muddy dirt. "I am fine, everyone. Excuse me a moment." He held a hand to his cheek and began to mend the damage as he regained his feet. Then he walked calmly over towards her, limping only slightly. Juli stayed where she was, letting Kex'ti approach. Seeing him... It felt different. Everything was different now. It evoked feelings she wasn't allowed to have anymore. She found she didn't know what to say, and was silent. He looked different. He was dressed in sparring leathers in red and black. The red on black of his tabard looked out of place compared to the purple and gold he'd worn for so many years. His beard was much better kept, very close to the sides of his angular face. He'd lost a lot of weight. He'd never been fat, exactly, but it was clear the traveling with a military branch left little time for him to bulk up to his usual size, or perhaps the lack of quality food... None of it mattered. He was there. She was looking upon him. And she could tell him what she'd spent every day these past six months hoping she'd have a chance to say. "I see you have matched your hair to mine," he chuckled. She'd forgotten how different she looked, too. Her armor was no longer muted purple and gold, but white, dark gray, and gold, and lacking tabard, pauldrons, or shield. And her hair, long now, had become as white as his. The last changes she hadn't known about until she came across the mirror in the ruins. Her eyes no longer glowed green. They glowed gold. The differences were so striking that it was remarkable he had recognized her instantly. No one else would have. "Yeah, I guess." She paused. The words wouldn't come out, hardly. "I just wanted you to know I'm alive. I thought... You would want to know." "Should we go somewhere to talk?" he asked. "Probably." He raised a hand to his eyes and rubbed them. "Fine, let us head out to the general concourse." He walked past her, causing the orc guard, who had been hovering, to start hastily moving back toward his post. The goblin in the arena called after Kex'ti. "Uh, you want your staff?" "No, Tulip. I will not be long," he said, wearily. He glanced to Julilee, and nodded out back towards the humid mid-day heat.
  26. 1 point
    Juli didn't know what the Paku'ai were and didn't bother asking when it didn't seem like it would make itself obvious. It was a climb indeed but it didn't bother her. She had learned long ago that it didn't matter how slow your forward progress was as long as you kept moving forward. Endurance would win you any battle, eventually. At the Great Seal, a hall characterized by an ancient device that hung broken overhead, soldiers more than any others came and went. Juli knew them by the way they carried themselves, by the purpose with which they moved. Sprinkled amongst them were emissaries from the new lands: diminutive, foxlike people, a few snake-like ones, and the slow, wizened turtle-esque ones. Juli barely spared the unusual sights a glance as her gaze moved over the crowd, looking for a familiar face that did not materialize. She ended up wandering, and came to a field hospital. There, chants to the Loa, the Light, and other supernatural forces clamored for attention. A slight Sin'dorei woman, her ears evident through the cap she wore, tended to the wounded with pulses of mists. Her ministrations were gentle, hope blooming on the faces of those she tended. Juli thought of Kex'ti's less-than-tender healing as she watched and waited. After the monk finished tending to her last patient, Juli approached her. "Excuse me," she said, "have you seen another Sin'dorei monk around here? His name is Kex'ti... White hair, slight limp?" The woman nodded. "He was here right after landfall. Fell in with a division called the Warscar Reach. Black tabard, red Horde crest. Don't know where the Zandalari have garrisoned them, but should be somewhere near here, in the halls below the Seal." After a moment she added reflectively, "Proficient healer. Little sensitive about the quality of his work." "Warscar Reach," Juli repeated. Luck she had no right to had befallen her again. "Thank you." She went to turn away just as she had every time over the past three days. "Your spirit seems troubled," the woman spoke up. "It's not," Juli said, both politely and honestly, and left.
  27. 1 point
    She had gone to Ratchet, first. That was where he'd been the last time she'd seen him. She barely remembered the overland journey there, but remembered that the bartender had had to tell her twice that he had quit and gone off to join the war before it sank in. "What war?" she asked. "The Legion was defeated." The goblin gave her a look that said he was finding her more and more questionable in terms of sanity, intellect, or both. "With the Alliance? You know, after we burned down Teldrassil and they tried to take Undercity so we bombed it to plaguey smithereens?" She stood there, digesting that. Once, those two hefty pieces of news would have sent her into a tailspin. It would have changed everything. Now, she found they didn't matter. They just passed through her. It was noise, unimportant background. Her objective remained the same. "Where should I look for him?" "Uh, Zuldazar's where the Horde's operating out of, so start there, I guess?" The goblin was nothing more than that same background now, and she almost turned and walked away without a further word. But something stopped her. With an effort, she focused on the hesitation and identified it. It was that the goblin was a person, and you were supposed to treat people with respect. It had been so long since that had been relevant she'd forgotten it mattered. "Thank you," she said politely before she departed.
  28. 1 point
    Brinnea woke to a searing pain and a dull hunger. She lay in a simple cot with a scratchy blanket, but it may as well have been a cloud for how much she could feel of it. When she tried to move, her body rebelled and lay still. Her arm and leg itched furiously. She tried to scratch at her arm but found that her left hand was missing – as was her right arm. Memory flooded back along with another wave of pain. She didn’t bother trying to reach her itching phantom leg. “Brin, you’re awake,” a familiar voice said at her left side. Brin struggled just to turn her head and look. “Christa,” she rasped. Her sister. She stood by the bed looking haggard; her armor was dinted and dingy, her hair messy and overgrown, and her eyes were bloodshot and drooping. She was the most beautiful thing Brinnea had seen in months. Christa adjusted the covers on Brinnea’s body. “We don’t have a proper healer here for you,” she said, “But I plan on capturing some animals for you. It should help you get back to your feet.” She winced when she realized what she said. “Where are we?” Brinnea asked. “A small farmstead. The Silver Hand is helping the farmers get settled in safely. With the Forsaken distracted to the west and south, we finally have some breathing room to rebuild Lordaeron.” “The war still rages?” Brinnea wasn’t sure why she cared, but she asked anyway. “Yes, and it doesn’t show signs of stopping. Sylvanas escaped when Lordaeron fell to the Alliance. Forsaken resistance is still strong in places. Not strong enough to kick up fuss about us knights.” “You remained neutral?” Christa nodded. “And I intend to stay that way. If we play our cards right, Andorhal might be free for human settlement again soon. I thought I might open an inn there if that happened.” “That would suit you,” Brin said. “I wish I could be there to see it.” “You aren’t dead yet, sister. Not truly.” “It’s only a matter of time. Besides, Andorhal won’t be a home for me. Only another place full of enemies.” “You don’t know that for certain,” Christa said, but she didn’t sound like she believed herself. When Brinnea was silent for a long while, Christa stood to take her leave. “Thank you,” Brinnea said. “Christa, thank you.” She opened the door and replied without looking back, “It’s what sisters are for, aren’t they?”
  29. 1 point
    Set shortly after the Horde's arrival in Zandalar When he had first entered the city, he had felt the subtle weight of the Loas' presence. Dazar'alor was not only the throne of the Zandalari but the oldest, functioning establishment of his entire race. It was a blessed place where every citizen lived, breathed, and died in the shadows of the Wild Spirits. The feeling of being watched should have been expected yet he found his spine tingling almost constantly as he tried to relax and set up trade. He had been given a small section of the street that was one flight of stairs up from the city's bottom tier in which to advertise his wears. Liquor from across the ocean was strangely popular amongst the lower-class population and the fine wine of Dalaran had even caught the eyes of a few priests and nobility. Someone's eyes were always upon him, it was something he used to but he still felt it was something far less innocent than the curious gazes of passerby and envious glares of would-be shoplifters. " Yo boss! We're going to lunch, ya gonna be alright by yaself?" One of his laborers called out suddenly, shaking him from his thoughts. He looked over to where the goblins were tapping their feet impatiently. His wares had been put on display and the rest were stacked neatly in the back of the tent against the wall. He nodded to his men despite his growing unease, assuming a facade of confidence. At least the Bladeguards were in the area this time. He had no time to devote to the brush with the Vilebranch as the sign was flipped to 'open' and curious Zandalari shoppers swarmed his stand. Sample cups were filled rapidly as the populace gawked with undisguised interest at all the new labels and glass designs. Bottles, kegs, jugs, and gold all changed hands so quickly that he was barely given a chance to thank them for their purchase before the next face was shoved forward with a fresh demand. He had worked up a sweat by the time the rush died down several hours later. The crowd had been reduced down to a single line and then, a single person. The man wore a familiar odor of fish, lowtide, and sweat. Definitely a fisherman. " Heard good tings about dat Darkmoon brew. Gimme a pony keg an' make it quick." The customer breathlessly demanded before glancing over his shoulder. Tahzani squatted down on sore, aching legs and hefted a dark wooden barrel marked with the gaudy purple and green of the Faire. " Jah got it mon, but what's de rush?" " De guard just went on break witout replacement." The man stated without elaboration as he snatched the keg and slammed a fistful of scratched coins onto the counter. He left without another word, leaving Tahzani to puzzle out the meaning of the statement by himself. " No guard... What is dis? De Undahbelly?" He called out in a joking tone, earning a curious, uncomprehending look from the Vulpera selling glass jewelry beside him. The chill up his spine slowly grew worse after the man left. It was as if the cause of his discomfort was approaching him. His instinctual dread found evidence to stand on when a new group rounded the corner from the upper levels. Their sandy, light brown hide and vividly red and orange hair marked them as trolls from the Sandfury Tribe. He rolled his aching limbs uncomfortably as they swaggered down the street with a confidence born from a sense of ownership. The bald male leading the pack made a careless gesture to the four who had followed him, allowing them to disperse towards the increasingly skittish vendors. Yet even as the grinning Sandfury walked straight towards him he could not shake the feeling that he was not the one who was watching. The man was armed and clearly not above violence but the fear of an approaching enemy felt different than the dread he had been feeling all day. Maybe he had just grown jaded from all of the psycopaths and armed idiots he had served over the years. Even when the man casually drew his knife to clean his nails while he spoke, it did nothing but raise his heartrate in preparation of the coming conflict. He was not afraid of the man that threatened him in a not-so-subtle matter, he was afraid of the unknown entity that was now watching them both. Even with a knife being waved around mere feet from him, he could not focus on the man. " So? Whatcha say? Ya gonna make it easy on Riki, mm?" " A-ah'm sorry. What was dat again?" Tahzani looked back towards the Sandfury, absorbing the gist of the pitch but nothing specific. " Money ta keep the business protected." The Sandfury repeated with an amused look and the presumed terror. " Ah dunno mon. Ah had a Vilebranch swing by last week an' his rates seemed moah fair. Don' tink ah'm ready ta switch providahs." Tahzani answered with a sarcastic tone and a falsely apologetic smile before he could stop himself. He knew it would not end well but he made sure to savor the dumbfounded expression on the thug's face before it twisted into something far less pleasant. The thug soon graduated to open threats. Promising that nobody was there to save him from fates that included death, skinning, and being killed after already being dead. When asked of the mechanics required for a 'knife wielding moron' to kill someone after they had already been killed, the Sandfury's patience finally wore out. Tahzani jerked his hand back as the blade flashed downward, barely removing the limb from the counter before it could be pinned to the wood. With his eyes on one hand, the mugger had momentarily lost sight of Tahzani's other hand which had dropped beneath the counter. When the Sand troll next raised the knife, Tahzani swung a worn shotgun up to brace against his shoulder in a practiced motion. " Ah told jah. Ah ain't ready ta switch." Tahzani stated struggling to keep himself from looking pleased at the look of shock on the extortionist's face. " Move along." He ordered, twitching the barrel to the left. For a moment, the expression of the other troll gave him hope that the demand would be followed. Hesitation cost him his chance at a lethal shot as the Sandfury lurched forward and to the left while extending the blade in an attempt to drive it into his gut. The bartender squeezed the trigger and went temporarily deaf in the following blast. The thug would survive the shot. Even the ringing in his ears was not enough to drown out the man's agonized howling. The blood puddle was spreading far too slowly for him to have hit anything vital. Screaming profanity and whimpering in turn, the man clutched at the bloody mess of his shoulder. " Ah told jah ah wasn't ready! See what happens when jah don' listen?" " You madafakka!" " Das fair." Tahzani shrugged. The surge of excitement was passing quickly but he knew there would be plenty more. Nobody could ignore the sound of such a discharge. Looking to the side revealed that it was not the guards who had been drawn to the noise but the man's companions. He stepped away from the counter and stood behind the floored thug with the gun held loosely across his chest. The rest of the Sandfury gang came to a stop with only a few yards and a bloodied comrade between them and their quarry. " Ah ain't payin' protection money, ah'm perfectly capable of defendin' mahself." He lied. Almost immediately, they called his bluff. They began to spread out and move around the body towards him, making him take an involuntary step backwards. He raised the gun again, unable to stop his hands from shaking as his heartbeat quickened. " Dunno if jah remembah how dis works but when I squeeze de triggah, bad tings happen. Back off." He wished he could have managed a more authoritarian tone. The group ignored the order and andvanced towards him, unafraid of the weapon and the threat. He rolled back another step to keep his distance and stumbled as his heel hit the curb outside of a busineses in the terrace. His heart sank as he flailed to keep balance and fell in a painfully, uneven posture across the curb. Any chance of being regarded as a threat disappeared like dust in a strong breeze. Something on the wall shifted as the flailing gun smacked against it. The chill up his spine became a coating of solid ice as he looked up at the previously invisible being. The advancing Sandfury stopped mattering as an eight-eyed creature regarded him with a look of contempt. The spider was the size of a mastiff and blended into the wall almost perfectly until it had been jostled by his fall. When it clicked its fangs, Tahzani's composure shattered and he swung the gun around with an undignified, fearful shout. The final shell in the gun killed the creature outright, tearing its head apart in a spray of shredded spider meat and ichor that splattered over his arms, clothes and weapon. The creature fell from the wall and landed upon him as all of its limbs curled in upon its center. He let out a low, keening whine as all of his hair stood on end and his lower half became paralyzed by sheer revulsion. Surprisingly, the Sandfury had stopped to watch the display, they even began to back away at the sight of the dead spider. They muttered under their breath as the bald leader waved a hand dismissively. Over the sound of his own internal screaming he was able to make out the name Yazma before their slow retreat turned into fleeing as fast as they could manage. Tahzani let out a shuddering breath and dropped the ichor stained gun. " Ah hate spidahs." He muttered wearily, trying to shove the corpse off of him. The sound of armor clanking signaled that the replacements for the guards had finally arrived. Tahzani gave them a weak wave after he rolled the corpse off of his legs. " Ey mons, don' worry. De Speakahs a de Sandfury tried ta staht sometin' wit de merchants, dey gone now." He waved towards his stand where only smeared blood, shredded hide, and muscle on the ground remained as evidence of a skirmish. One of the guards spared him an indifferent scowl while his knelt down to heft up the spider's corpse, seemingly angered by the death of the creature. " Ya were told ta watch yaself in our city." The unburdened guard stated tersely, withdrawing a pair of manacles and clapping them tightly around Tahzani's wrists before hauling him to his feet. " Now de peace has been disturbed, someone be leaking blood everywhere. An' one of Yazma's eyes been put out." " Wait wait wait!" Tahzani protested as he was yanked forward by his hands. " Who be Yazma? What be happenin'?" " We be seein' how dey wanna deal wit outsidahs." The guard responded tersely as he lead the hapless bartender away. -------------------------------------------- When the workers returned from lunch, they found the stand abandoned but untouched by the populace even though the bazaar had begun to fill with customers once more. By the end of the night, they broke the stand down and began to gossip about the workaholic's sudden disappearance. Without the troll to order them around the next morning had no reason to even bother setting up his stand again and instead aided with loading the supplies onto the ship. The reason that they had all agreed upon between them was that the troll had finally tasted economic freedom and went mad. At that moment Tahzani was probably overdoing it with any number of vices available, but they were not paid enough to question it further. By the next morning the ship was fully loaded and left with the tide. Tahzani had thrown around the idea that he would finally take some time off enough for it to be plausible that he finally had. Time waited for no one, regardless of if the bartender had checked in or not the company ship had a schedule to keep. So began their journey home, leaving the troll behind to enjoy the city and some well earned relaxation. As the ship set out to deliver its goods to the west, Tahzani was moved to the north in chains.
  30. 1 point
    Eight pointy legs stabbed into raw nerves on his arm and Tahzani awoke with a wail of terror and pain. In a moment of pure, instinctual fear, he threw both arms up to hurl the invading creature clear of him and scrambled as far away from the clack as he could manage. He scooted along the ground until the back of his skull hit a wall and stars burst in his eyes. A light clacking sound told him that the creature had landed and that he had overstayed his welcome in its den. Seeing a hint of blue amidst the lights that still impeded his vision, Tahzani charged to the left towards what he hoped was an opening. He emerged into the chill of a late night and immediately lost his footing as his heel hit a steep incline. He curled up as he began to roll and earth and sky traded places again and again. His stomach threatened to trade places with his teeth. The motion was denied as his back hit solid stone and the wind was driven out of his lungs in a violent burst that left him unable to scream when fresh agony flared up his arm. Fearful or not, he refused to move until the stars in his eyes stopped flashing and spinning. Minutes later, it became obvious that his patience would only reward him in one way. A brilliant night sky came into focus as he drew in pained, ragged breaths. Befuddled by sleep, he wanted to scream out for answers but had yet to find his voice. Raising his head he saw the cracked, half-buried remains of an old stone road curving around a gulch and stretching towards worked stone further to the south. " Dock..." He rasped, trying to push himself off the ground to his feet and falling short on an arm that could no longer suppot his weight. When the cloth wrapped stump struck stone with his body weight behind it, he finally found the breath to scream. Alone in the desert, he screamed in pain, uncaring of who could hear him and ending with a series of shuddering gasps as he struggled to wrap his head around it. " Mah ahm. He took mah fuckin' AHM!" He wheezed in disbelief as he looked at the limb, wrapped in an old, dirty washcloth bound tightly with a strap of leather. The cut had been just above his elbow and with the return of his wits, made its pain known. " Dock..." He looked up, hoping to catch a glimpse of the pale troll. There was no way he slept through that racket. " Dock?" He called out, his guts squirmed as his doubt grew. A chilly breeze swept across the sands and a chill up his spine made him sick with realization. In his current state, he was nothing more than dead weight. He had been left behind. The road leading into the shadows beneath the bridge suddenly resembled an open grave. The pain did not fade with time. The constant sting only grew worse as the bound cloth rubbed it the wrong way with every movement subtle or otherwise. The fog he had been walking through was replaced with mounting frustration until he wanted to scream at his own nerves to stop. A waste of energy he could not afford. As it stood his teeth were chattering too much to form a sentence. Following the downhill slope he eventually reached the end and began stumbling. The road was half-buried by sand and the other half had been shattered or cracked at the very least. He staggered and fell, catching himself on a hand as he felt his way blindly through the increasing darkness as the bridge blocked out the moon. He came to a stop as his hand touched an object sticking ouf of the sand. As his eyes adjusted to the darkness he made out a circular edge and several bent spokes. It was a wagon wheel and the wagon it belonged to sat nearby in an uneven slump. Worn down by the elements and missing most of its siding it was a sorry sight. Sizable gaps had been opened up all along it, the larges of which being front end which was missing its corners and had been buried in the sand. It was filled with more holes than a goblin insurance claim but it still offered more protection than the open air. Shivering and unsteady, Tahzani slipped inside of the musty, noxious sanctuary and rubbed at the gooseflesh of his exposed skin vigorously. The shattered front end had flooded half of the wagon with several inches of sand. As the moon slowly shifted, a beam of moonlight filtered in through a hole in the wall and fell upon a pathetic excuse of a firepit. A small ring of stones around a single, black and brittle skull atop a pile of ash and sand. "Who did jah piss off mon? Don' mean no disrespect but jah do well ta balance out a good flame... Forgive me." He mumbled as he shivered again and looked around. The wagon had been stripped by many things but it had been sturdily built. He staggered back out into the cold and set to work. One more plank opened another hole in the wagon's side. The wood was brittle enough that it nearly crumbled in his hand and was sprinkled around the skull before the more resilient shards were leaned against the side of the skull. The wheel he had found was beaten against the stone until the wooden wheel was shattered and its pieces were pulled from the inner ring and spokes. Satisfied with the amount he had to burn, he realized he was missing a critical component. "Matches...Why didn't ah pack matches." He muttered, patting down his pockets. "Because ah nevah NEEDED matches befoah, jackass!" He hissed. "Ey! Don' take dat tone wit me! Dey gave jah plenty of options fah what ta take an' jah took-" "Ah know! Ah know! Shit dat made me a tahget, how could ah forget? But we don' got matches. Mebbe dere be sometin' ah can scavenge from de road." " Mebbe jah can bang two rocks togethah." He sneered. "If jah done bein' an ASSHOLE, ah be all ears fah actual suggestions!" He did not like the look he wore then. He wore a condescending smirk as if he was explaining simple math to a moron. "Ain' much life left in de bone. But enough..." "No..." "Why? Because wit de final piece gone jah FINALLY be free of it? One sunbeam de size a jah dick don' make jah a druid. Errybody would rathah jah come back fel tainted den not come back at all." "Ah told mahself-" "Jah promised ME dat jah wouldn't. But jah also promised HER dat jah would stick around! Face it, jah nevah been much fah promises. De Centipedes, de Mossflayah, Lilly, Pai, Nauka... Name one person jah made a deal wit an' kept it straight!" He snapped before sucking in a shaky, weary breath and continuing. "Ah don' wanna die out heah... If it means we take a leap backwards aftah finally havin' our breakthrough, den so be it." When he mustered the nerve to look at himself again, he was alone. The burned skull stared at him imploringly but what it wanted eluded him. To use it to save himself? To resist the temptation? "Jah prolly wanna be reattached to jah spine." He muttered as he held out a hand towards the pit. He had used the fel to start fires so many times that he could cast the spell without conscious thought, even after so many months. But lighting it another way was painfully difficult. Enough to warrant a mantra as he plead for warmth. "Life comes from death...Life comes from death.... Life comes from death." He chanted again and again. The dead man in the firepit would help keep him alive so long as he had the will. There was a single moment of illumination as a golden, sunny flame licked out from his palm to strike the dried wood. In that moment he felt the thrill of success quickly followed by exhaustion. The bones of a dead man huddled in a corner, grinned proudly at him as they held onto the rusted blade in what had once been its guts. His vision blurred and his side hit the sand near the small, crackling flame. He looked into the hellish glow of the skull's eye sockets and promptly passed out.
  31. 1 point
    Nathandiel groaned as he set down the last of firewood by the hearth, kicking an errant log back onto the blanket he'd put down to catch the bits of bark that always fell from the lengths of tinder. He went back to the front door, leaning out into the street. Tarren Mill was bigger now, more boisterous than years before. Aside from the normal development of a healthy settlement that saw growth, Tarren Mill was now one of the nearer Horde outposts to the conflict in the Arathi Highlands to the East. With the Undercity gone, its also one of the more popular refugee towns. He frowned at this, eyeing a few of those said refugees by one of the water pumps, on their way to the cemetery. Towards the town's centre there would be more of them, crashed out under lean-to dwellings, filling the inn, and taking up space in any shoppe that would permit them. He pulled the door to the little flat closed, sure to turn the lock. It wasn't yet clear who had survived the attack, and while there were some who knew he had, he wasn't yet keen to make it apparent that he was still with the living--he had other things to attend to besides the Warcheif's ambitions. The small flat was old, dusty, and he had yet to properly clean it. What equipment he had bartered for dominated the kitchen, a place that had become more a laboratory than a place in which he made food. In the cupboards there were canned goods tucked snug next to stock solutions and chemical powders with handwritten labels. Before the Undercity had fallen, he had been deeply engrossed in work, finding the solace there that Howard Philip Glinn had promised he would. He had been set back by the assault, but had salvaged his journals--along with his family. Kieran cooed with delight in the single bedroom, a small space with a wooden stove, kept from view by dusty curtains Nathandiel had taken from the living room windows. He had replaced those coverings with linens. His new wife liked it dark in the bedroom, the light still too much for her. Kieran didn't mind, so long as he had her attention--and she was surprisingly good at giving it to him. He could hear her speaking softly to the child, encouraging him to eat more, to become stronger. That should have been a happy moment, to hear his new wife speak to the child in their charge with such hope. It is happy. I am happy--I am. We cannot always have things exactly as we want them. He went to the fireplace, stoking the coals to rouse them in anticipation for more fuel. He wiped sweat from his upper lip as the fire grew hotter with each addition, the glow leaning more yellow than orange as the flames licked up the sappy wood, popping when it hit sugar. He stood, content with his work, and pulled the fire gate closed. He couldn't have Kieran crawling into the fire, that would be most troublesome. The tiny tot had already put his hand on the stove in the bedroom, earning himself a red and inflamed palm that Nathandiel had salved and wrapped, feeling no need to admonish the child; it had learned enough of a lesson from the injury. In the kitchen he took off his shirt, wiping down his upper body and under his arms, removing at least the worst of the stink that enshrouded a man after a prolonged period of arduous labour; he would take a bath after supper. Without reclothing, he set to making the evening meal, pushing aside retort stands and moving glassware so that he could make enough space on the counter to chop vegetables. In the bedroom he heard mutual giggling; they were happy in there. I either need to go hunting, or suck it up and purchase some meat from one of the vendors here. We've been living on vegetables for nearly a week, he thought, while he cut the potatoes. Before moving onto the onions he put on his laboratory goggles. They didn't work entirely, but they did help keep the tearful miasma from his eyes, at least enough that he could finish the task. Once the pot was full, the water added, and the stock dispensed, he lugged the heavy iron receptacle to the fire and hung it. He took a moment to stoke the fire again before giving the soup a stir. It was thick this time, more like a stew. His mouth watered at the prospect of a hearty meal. It would be better with meat.... With supper attended to, he headed to the bedroom, pushing aside the curtains and slipping in before any light would enter. Inside the small room was dominated by a rickety bed, dark covers draped over a slender form who was propped up with pillows, an infant on her lap. The stove was cold, they wouldn't light it until evening. The box that served as Kieran's cradle was next to the bed, making it easy for his wife to reach the infant when she so wished. Affixed to the headboard were IV bags, several of them, some small and some large, some piggy-backing on others while some had direct lines to the woman in the bed. He went to the bed and took each bag in hand, turning them over to check their volumes, frowning at each meniscus that met a line he didn't like. "You need more blood," he sighed softly, biting his lip. While they had been in the bowels of the Undercity coming by blood had been no problem. Now though.... A cold hand closed on his forearm and he looked down. The veiled face was turned up to him, the child tucked against her covered breast with a bottle. "I feel much better," she said, her voice throaty and smooth like velvet. "You worry too much. This is where Melchisedech did his best work, and this is where you will do yours. The fall of Lordaeron is infuriating," her grip tightened. "But for us, this may have been best. Now...favour me before you busy yourself with my care taking?" It was a simple request and he smiled. He lifted her veil, placing it carefully on her crown and leaned down, tipping up her chin as he kissed her. She was still so cold. He let his forehead rest against hers and she held his cheek with one slender hand. "Be stronger than the fear and doubt that wrest your heart. I have seen worse times in life, as have you. This space between life and something else does not frighten me; do not let it frighten you." He kissed her again, eager for her even in her given state. He restrained himself, however, for despite her assurances, she was not well. His eyes met hers, the once-vibrant green gone, a pale violet looking back. Her cheeks were sunken and her lips were barely the colour of bleached roses. Her dark hair tumbled over her shoulders, lank and really too long. Now, more than ever, she resembled the Queen she so adored, but she was not like Sylvanas or her kind, not entirely. "I can smell soup," Drinn said. "I think I would like to have some. Would that be alright?" He smiled, not sure that she really did wish to eat or if rather she wished to please him by appearing to wish to eat. "Of course," he said. "When its ready I'll bring you a bowl to go with Kieran's broth." Drinn nodded, smiling down at the infant she had become keen on. "Eat yours in here with us," she said. "Take just a little time away from the work and care giving and be with us." She looked up at him. "Do you think after supper you could read more to us?" Nathandiel nodded. "Of course." Drinn lowered her veil, hiding her meekness. "Good. We would like that very much. You may tend to me now." She did not like when he invited himself to administer her medicines and supplements, or to help himself to a bodily exam. Even in a nearly helpless state, she was not a submissive woman. He didn't mind this about his new wife. Her strength, even her arrogance, enamored him to her. When he'd finally found her, broken and drained, she'd still tried to kill him. With her permission, he changed her IVs, flushed her catheters, checked her lines, and drew his samples. By the time he had her settled, the soup was ready. They ate together, and when they were done, he read to Kieran and Drinn until they were both asleep. He watched them, the way the baby lifted and fell slowly on Drinn's struggling chest. As much as he wanted to stay there with them enjoying the peace they had created in that tiny room, he had work to do. [align=center]In Memory of Drinn[/align] [align=center]Happy Birthday Drinn[/align] [align=center]October 16, 1980 to June 21, 2016[/align]
  32. 1 point
    The first rays of sunlight pierced through the gloom and stabbed straight into the weary eyes of the pale troll who had taken the lead. When he stopped short with a curse, Tahzani walked straight into his back. Even with a mixture that was more water than liquor, the alcohol had proven potent enough to provide them both with a sense of inebriation that followed them throughout the night. Sipping on the watered down slammer had warded away most of the chill, leaving them both uncomfortable, but it had succeeded in keeping them alive against the chill. After an hour of passing the bottle back and forth his companion's tongue had loosened and the time was spent listening to the man ramble from one story to the next with frequent distractions, rambling, and irrelevent tangents. Tahzani almost regretted not remembering a word of it. Fatigue that had nothing to do with sleep deprivation or exertion had become more and more prominent since he had left the city. Even as his companion talked for hours on end, Tahzani struggled to keep moving in a straight line. "We made good time, but we gotta stop." Dock stated, peering blearily at the stone wall before them. The mass of rock had only become visible when the sky had begun to lighten as if in invitation.The land sank into cayons and rose into terraces of stone, dark brown against the cold tan of the dunes surrounding it. In time, it would offer shade from the burning glare. "We ain't got enough watah ta mix left. We can drink it straight ta survive anuddah night but we'll be dyin' a thirst even quickah." Tahzani sighed, licking his lips and glancing towards the canyon. At the moment, he would have welcomed the warmth of a horrifically hot day with open arms. "A few hours of sun exposure is going to exhaust what little water we have left. I don't want to face whatever else rises with the sun without proper rest. It was your idea to push away from the others, now we gotta make this work or we are both dead. Pushing ourselves until we drop or run into a real threat is a sure way to achieve the latter." Dock stated, setting his lips into a grim line as he stared at the taciturn bartender. Tahzani spared the rocks a weary look as he considered their options. The darkened pathway between the rocks held little appeal when his mind had been set on trudging a few miles further. The sight of thin, green leaves poking out of the ground changed his mind. "Look... Grass." "...Aye Mon. I know what grass is." The exile said slowly. Perhaps the chill of the night had frozen his brain and it needed time to thaw. "Grass means watah. It might be deep but-" " It might also mean plants we can use." Dock said, catching on and flashing a grin filled with tobacco stained teeth. " Exactly, ah figure we got an hour befoah de sun be up. Dunno what be edible heah but we should look an' be quick about it." His words lacked the force required to inspire. But the next moment both trolls were striding with purpose into the winding stone canyons. ------- "What about-" "Do not drink the cactus." "But I seen-" "The after effects? The water in there is acidic. You gonna give yourself the shits drinking that by itself... Take the young pads though, there might be something we can do with them." Dock spared the bartender an annoyed look. Ever since the sun had risen, the troll had become even more sluggish and he was struggling with even basic tasks. "Just look for broad, green leafy plants." The other troll sighed, drawing the blade on his side as he spotted a healthy looking plant and began digging at its base. Tahzani watched the other troll work without comprehension or basic awareness. He should have kept looking but he could not draw himself away from the digging troll. The death of his drive had begun with the loss of momentum. He was dimly aware of what they needed here, yet when they stopped, all he could think about was lying down. Not even to sleep. "Ahahahahaaaa!" His partner's cackle roused some life into his dulled senses. The hole he had dug into the roots of the plant was beginning to fill with gritty water. It did not stop the other troll from leaning down to drink deeply from the puddle. "Quickly mon! Gimme the skin!" Dock gasped, holding out a hand towards him. Tahzani stared at the hand for several moments before he seemed to understand and handed off the deflated skin to his partner. It only took a few scoops from the shallow water to drain it too low. When the puddle was too shallow to effectively fill the skin, Dock stepped away to allow Tahzani to wet his swollen throat. With or without sand, the water was a welcome relief. "This should be enough for one more night. Let's find a place to get some shut-eye." Dock rumbled, his spirits notably higher as he strode past the stooped bartender with purpose. Tahzani tarried a few seconds longer before staggering after him. The optimistic attitude was short lived as the two wandered through the winding pathways carved through the stone. There was no shortage of cracks and small crevices to trip over and stub their toes on, but none that were large enough to slip into. An hour passed as the two staggered and cursed their way through the passes before they found an indent in the stone. It was deep enough to provide relief from the heavy heat that had begun to weigh them down. He missed the question when it was asked the first time, too focused on the relief of getting off of his feet. "What?" "I asked, what the hell is wrong with you?" "Ya want a fuckin' list?" "Last night you had one idea that seemed insane but it worked. Now? Ya head be on de moon." Tahzani twisted his lip and remained silent. It was an answer he had been curious about. The lethargy had been slow to start but spread quickly. "Ah don' know." "What do ya mean ya don't know?" "Just that. A few days outta de city an' errytin' got hardah. Thinkin' about escape turned inta strugglin' ta focus. Was able ta walk an' talk but even das gettin' hahd now." "Ya been huffing?" "Jah... But das not it." "Ya sure?" "Aye. Even de worst cravings not been like dis." "Snorting?" "What? No." "Shooting?" "How does dat-No!" "Licking?" "Licking?" "Toads." "NO! Ah'm not a junkie!" Tahzani snapped at his companion. The other troll had sunk down beside him with his eyes closed and a slight smile curling his lip at the bartender's outrage. " Could have fooled me. Fine, don't tell me." "Ah slung de Fel." Tahzani snapped without enthusiasm, resting his head against the wall after the proclamation. When his friend made a knowing sound in the back of his throat he lazily swiveled his head towards him to tiredly glare. "What?" "The Fel. I have heard enough stories about it." "Yeah well ah'm not messin' wit it. Not anymoah." "Maybe that might be the problem? Your greenskinned friends went through a similar struggle did they not?" "Withdrawals don' kick in months latah. If jah be hooked on it, it could be hours befoah jah want anudda hit. Even wit as little as ah used ah woulda felt sometin' before today." "Are you sure about that?" "Well, ah was a second ago." The bartender muttered. Apparently satisfied, Dock folded his arms across his stomach and settled down. "Ya good ta take de first watch?" "Aye. I'll wake jah in a few hours." Tahzani sighed, rubbing at his eyes before staring down the path they had come from. He had reached an odd point of fatigue where he lacked the energy to feel exhausted. Deigning not to point out the other troll's state. Dock closed his eyes. The sun was high in the sky and edging towards a descent when Tahzani's time for rest was cut short by urgent shaking. " Mon! We gotta move!" Dock hissed glancing down the path to their right as he roused the Revantusk. Tahzani muttered incoherently, his eyes gummy and his vision blurred. Befuddled by sleep, he offered no resistance as the troll grabbed him by the forearms and hauled him to his feet. "We gotta move!" " Ah heard jah! Fuck! Don' gotta be so loud mah ears are ringin'." He growled irritably before cocking his head and blinking his eyes clear. His ears were not ringing, they were buzzing with the heavy reverberations of rapidly moving wings. A bass, droning buzz. When a shadow flew by overhead, his exhaustion disappeared and both trolls took off running. The blood pounding through his veins gave him clarity and pushed away the exhaustion for the moment as he focused entirely on keeping up with the athletic troll in front of him. The droning buzz only grew louder and more agitated as they ran. He risked a glance over his shoulder and regretted it immediately. The shadow had been a scout, now the workers and the defenders had arisen to darken the skies. Dozens or hundreds of winged insects were behind them and moving forward. He barely avoided colliding with Dock when the other troll skidded to a halt. The narrow path had widened into a broad, circular area no longer than a hundred feet across before it turned narrow again. The walls were covered in the bulbous hives of the wasps. The defending wasps were the size of dogs while the drones were the size of his fingers. He could easily count the number of defenders but the little ones were too numerous to even guess at. His companion spat out an oath and glanced over his shoulder. They had drawn the attention of the swarm behind them. "We run through there an we'll be flayed alive." "An' if we stay put, we gonna get swarmed." Tahzani protested, earning a stressed look from the exile. The anger disappeared as he shoved a hand inside of Tahzani's pocket, earning an indignant squawk and an frightened jerk backwards by the bartender. "Ah ain't grabbin' YA bottle i'm grabbing THE bottle! Shut up!" Dock groused, pulling the obsidian glass bottle from his pocket. "Dock no!" Tahzani wailed, too late as the bottle had already been hurled towards one of the closer hives of alerted wasps. It would have been a solid plan, a short explosion to disrupt the wasps and a flaming hive to send them into a confused panic while the two ran for their lives. But the magical fire the man expected had always required other components to start. None of which would be found in broken glass. The heavy bottle shattered explosively, raining shards of thick, black glass onto the smaller wasps and even tearing the delicate wing of one of the defenders, sending it buzzing into the earth. The rain of glass was mixed with a rain of thick, black liquid that painted the hive and the wasps alike with what remained inside. Dock froze with a confused, fearful expression. Where was the flame? The buzzing grew louder as the insects became enraged. Dock ripped the blade from his waist with his free hand as he tugged Tahzani forward. The bartender had closed his eyes in a look of silent submission. As if he was awaiting his end. In truth, it was taking Tahzani everything he had to work out the spell. He had yet to succeed with anything Paiyuna had tried to teach him, and in the dreadful moment, he believed he knew why it had never worked. As the insects approached, he reached out a hand towards the glaring, fiery orb above him. The wasps had been eating far too well lately. There were too many exiles to feast upon and not enough of anything else to support the explosive population growth. Balance was needed. The beam was miniscule, only notable because of the shade that the drenched nest resided in. But the spark was enough. The insects scattered as flames roared up the wall and began to greedily devour the hive. The tongues of flame lashed at large and small insects alike, uncaring and all consuming. When every other creature scattered in a panic away from the flame, the trolls shot towards the exit. The exile arced the blade through the air at one of the more resilient defenders, slicing through the barbed stinger and out through the sternum to spill its insides out. Torn between panic and a surge of joy at the accomplishment, Tahzani barely managed to block a stringer with his arm rather than his skull. The knife sized stinger twisted just right to thread the needle between his bones of his forearm and pass clear through the meat of the limb He had not even registered the pain when another slash from Dock freed the stinger from the creature's body, leaving the confused bartender with a brand new piercing. "It went though." He informed his companion in a tone of disbelief as the sudden shock wore off and the delayed agony surged forward. "We'll get it out later! RUN!" Dock ordered, giving his unmaimed arm another tug. The next second he let go again to cleave through a curious wasp that had come to investigate the noise from further down the tunnel. Tahzani raised the wounded limb again as another wasp fell upon him. He greeted the next wound with a scream as the stinger buried itself into his arm an inch away from the first and released a burning venom into the meat of his limb. The creature pulled the stinger out with a sudden jerk, sawing through flesh with the barbs as it readied itself for another stab. Scrambling wildly with the other limb, Tahzani found a hefty stone to swing at the plunging blade, cracking the weapon and wrenching it free of the wasps's body to dangle by a string. Tahzani leapt back up to his feet and staggered away from the mess, hurling his newfound weapon at another attacking insect as he staggered after Dock. The other troll was shouting for him to hurry as he continued to slash and cleave with a flash of steel and a spray of ichor accompanying each motion. The swarm had caught him by then, showing particular interest in the already infected flesh as they focused on covering the limb.In the moment, all he could focus on was the simple task of running before the ones with the big stingers got there. The tiny stingers stabbing into his chest tickled by comparison. His heart was hammering into his ribs with every moment as panic seized him. His arm ached abysmally but not nearly as much as it should have. Even as he watched, he saw bits of his flesh being ripped off and chewed by tiny mandibles. Before his very eyes, he was being eaten by the swarm. He screamed incoherently as he slapped at the insects with his free hand, crushing some and backhanding others away. Casings cracked and stingers were ripped free in ways that should have hurt far more than they did. They shot out of the pathways out onto a descending dune of sand leading down to patches of an old, stone road. Bare feet slapped the stone loudly as they fled the swarm. It was unclear which one of them was shouting or if they were both adding to the already deafening racket. ------------ He was not sure when the creatures stopped pursuing them, but when he collapsed they were thankfully nowhere to be seen. His throat was as dry as a kiln and every breath he sucked into aching, burning lungs. He felt uneven and even rolling onto his back took more effort than it should have. Against his better judgement, he looked down to look at the damage the swarm had inflicted. From the edge of his bicep downward, his arm was a mess of chewed flesh and discolored, grotesquely swollen bumps. The limb had grown as thick as his thigh in places, resembling bunch of punctured grapes still on the stem. As horrible as it looked, he felt little more than a mild burning sensation. "It's... It's not dat bad right?" He asked in a quivering voice as Dock approached him with a guarded expression. "De venom, it isn't dat bad, right?" He quietly plead, hoping that the grim faced exile had some sort of reassurance. He began to shiver as the other exile removed his belt and cinched it down tightly above the damaged flesh. "I'll heal! Ah just need time!" His voice rose an octave as his companion drew the blade again with a sickened expression and forced a dirty cloth into Tahzani's mouth. His heart pounded in his chest and fear locked his limbs as he stared at the man with a naked blade. "Aye mon... It will all heal with time." Dock promised with a soft, kind tone reserved for calming frightened animals. " Close ya eyes. Ya won't want to watch this." He murmured, positioning his blade above the damaged limb. Dock was right.
  33. 1 point
    When the first bottle had been removed from an unnaturally deep pocket in his robes, the guards had whistled and laughed about their good fortune. By the twentieth, the amusement had turned into utter disbelief. They would never understand the sheer weight he suffered under to exceed expectations. Piece by piece they stripped him of everything he had. When he had nothing left, not even simple cloth to protect his dignity they made him choose what they would return. For the hoard of "evidence" they had collected from him, they were feeling generous. They told him it was the peak of generosity towards exiles when they made him choose. Water and rations that could be stretched out for a long weekend, the clothes on his back, and a handful of personal items were all that they allowed him. The weight of the punishment made up for the lack of material as he trudged along with a score of other trolls out of the city with his hands shackled tightly in front of him. Several days were spent in a forced ride and trudge. Every few hours the prisoners were rotated between the cramped, wheeled cage pulled by the great, horned lizard and the line of walking prisoners behind it. The fires of rebellion still burned among the prisoners as they muttered, hissed, and swore revenge. He felt subdued and tired, even as the others hissed and spat all he could manage was to put one foot in front of the other. When their path brushed the border to the misty swamp, all protest died in their throats. The prisoners became as silent as the stone-faced guards, mutually fearful of alerting what hid in the muck and vapor. One troll in the group only had just enough strength to make it to the land of their exile and no further. The old man had begun falling into coughing fits a few days out of the city and only grew worse when they passed through Nazmir. The hacking sounds only grew rougher and wetter with every day they spent on the journey. When his feet touched the sands of the outskirts, his debt to the empire was officially paid. The old man fell to the ground, hacking and gasping for air as he dragged the line to a halt. The guards watched him with a hint of annoyance at the delay but made no movement to help him back to his feet. When the coughing stopped, they removed the old man's limp body from the line and shouted for the rest of the prisoners to continue onward. Tahzani kept his eyes on the ground, terrified of staring into the empty eyes of the lucky man who had avoided the future hardship. ---------------------- His mind was a jumbled mess when a rough shake forced him into consciousness. HIs head ached horribly and only one eye could see the star-filled night sky. His irritant had stooped beside him in the darkness to rouse him for reasons he could not comprehend. He had no recollection of going to sleep on the sand. The memories slowly tumbled back to the forefront of his mind as the man's unintelligible words reached his ears. They had been released by the guards and given their final sentence. They were to remain in Vol'dun for the rest of their days. To be seen by soldiers of the Zandalari anywhere else was grounds for execution. Their choice of how to live the rest of their lives was the one mercy granted to them for their crimes against the King and his Empire. With their duty fulfilled, the guards turned and rode away. In their exhausted stupor, the first troll to begin moving was quietly declared the leader and the rest of the mob shuffled after him. The path of exile had been tread and obliterated by the shifting sands countless times but after so many years and prisoners, a semblance of permanence had been worn into the earth. They followed that line, silent save for a handful of murmured conversations. The sun had begun to set when they found the first camp established along the trail worn by the exiles. It was little more than a firepit ringed with sandstone in a shallow pit of land protected from the sun and wind by two shards of stone jutting out from the earth like crooked, crossed teeth. He greeted the sight with a sigh of relief. The troll behind him had greeted it by striking Tahzani in the back of the head. " Ya took something sentimental didn't ya?" The troll in his blindspot rumbled in cracked voice, roughened by thirst. " Didn't think it would make ya target, richmon?" Tahzani's response could not even make it past his swollen, dry tongue. " Musta been a thief...Or caught in bed wit de wrong mon's mate. These men, they be here for much worse. While ya took what ya needed to comfort yaself, they took what they needed to conquer. Ya keepsakes didn't protect ya much from a good cudgel, did they?" Tahzani finally turned enough to get a look at the troll speaking to him, realizing with relief that his eye had swollen shut from the blow. The Zandalari had pale, nearly white skin and short hair. The rags of a poor man covered his chest and legs, a rope had been tied around his waist as a makeshift holder for the dull saber on his hip. " Who... Be ya?" The bartender finally managed before coughing painfully through a closed throat. " Name best be forgotten, but ya can call me Dock." " Aight Dock... Why ya botherin' ta talk ta me about dis?" " Came ta check an' see if ya had died yet an' get first dibs on ya clothes. Found ya still breathing so I felt neighborly." Tahzani coughed and gasped through a dry throat several times before he was able to control himself. Dock continued to speak, undeterred by the conversation turning one sided again. " If I was you, I would wake up before the rest. If ya feeling brave, steal it all back while they sleep. Either way, get out before they decide that the noise ya make when they hit ya be funny. Or that the meat on ya bones be enough for them when they go hungry in a few days. Lotta people lose it out here." Tahzani pushed himself up out of the sand an released a breath. They had left him where he had fallen after the initial assault, outside the light of the fire and far away from its warmth. He wrapped his arms tightly around his chest and let out a shuddering curse. The night air was frigid and sucked the warmth from deep within. The harness had been enough for the heat of the port, here, he cursed his choices. The other exiles had formed into clusters, the largest and the most heavily armed were allowed the luxury of the fire while the others huddled together for warmth outside of the ring of bodies. The anger he should have felt at their arrogance found no space to build in his throbbing skull. There was no use waiting for morning. " Ain't nothin' fah me heah..." He choked out before looking towards the sky. The north star was enough to give him a sense of direction. He turned south. Dock did not rise from his seated position and followed the bartender's wobbly gait with his eyes. " Where ya goin' richmon?" " South. Ah know enough about dis place ta know dat be where de coast is." " And?" " An' i'm goin' there." " Ya not leavin' Vol'dun in a rowboat, mon." Tahzani bit back his first response and simply exhaled through his nose. " It be a slim chance. But if dey lettin' de Horde in heah, ah know dey gonna be expandin' operations ta all reaches a de island. Ah make it ta de watah, ah might be able ta find a way out. It be eithah dat or die in the sands." He began walking. Every step took him further and further away from the light and noise of the other exiles. " Won't be de sun dat kills ya at night, richmon." Dock warned him, falling in step with him a few moments later. " The sun will roast ya alive but the night sky will suck all feelin' out of you. Freezin' ta death is no better." " Ah didn't take keepsakes." Tahzani's hand shook from the cold as he reached into the abnormally deep pockets of his apron. The thieves had taken what they had felt on the surface, but they had not found where he had hidden the important items. He withdrew a heavy bottle made of obsidian glass from his pocket and twisted the cork until it popped out, releasing a smoky, pungent scent. The paler troll wrinkled his nose. " Liquor? Ya took -liquor-?" " Need watah... But you'd be surprised what even a sip a dis can do against a chill." Tahzani muttered before withdrawing one significantly smaller sewn waterskin, the remains of his water ration from the death march. He pursed his lips and took one last slug from it before he fit the mouths of the containers together. His hands were shaking badly enough to slop the liquor onto the sands as he mixed the two without precision. " Ya realize it does not actually warm ya up, right?" " ...Lemme tell ya about a fun place called Blackrock Mountain an' a drink named aftah a royal asshole." In the relative darkness of the dunes, a single spot of flame sprang to life. It burned just long enough and bright enough to illuminate the Zandalari's look of disbelief.
  34. 1 point
    The Exodar: At last there was a response on his hearthstone, an unfamiliar woman's smoke-roughened voice gave a quivering reply. "Are you, Aruku?" "Yes, where's Janala?!" A pause, then, "I'm... I'm sorry. We got trapped in the burrows. My child and I, she shared her hearthstone with us. We all tried to use, but she didn't... make it." Janala's hearthstone had been set to their home, here on Azuremyst. The bottom dropped out of his previously clenched stomach, leaving him feeling cold and alone. They were gone, his wife and his unborn daughter both. "... Hello?" It took him a long moment to regain enough composure to reply, voice thick with emotion, "Thank you, for letting me know." Long ears wilted and shoulders drooping he stared at what was now the funeral pyre for two of his loved ones, along with many other unfortunates. Some time later his kids found him, having come up to see as well. They all hugged one another, a small family group among the crowd of many. "Where's mom?" One of them asked timidly, afraid of the answer. Looking at the kids surrounding him the young man swallowed his feelings, forcing them to the back and locking them away. Vemy was right, he was going to be needed even more right now. They all were. "Don't worry, I'm sure she's fine. She's a druid, she can fly, remember?" Forcing a smile he tried to reassure the kids and keep them calm. Once they weren't needed for the injuries coming from Darnassus, then they could mourn. "But there's gonna be a lot of people from the big tree who'll need our help, so let's go back inside and start, aye?" Giving each a kiss and hug he went back inside with them, dropping them off on the way to the clinic. When he came back the elf was no longer smiling. Instead a subdued, grim person returned and went quietly to work, eyes hollow with pent up loss. Finishing his shift with Vemy he saw her off, then went back in to keep working. Sanjay seemed to have the same idea. The monk had not left the hospital since he returned to the Exodar, and had worked through several assistants in the whirlwind days since. He adopted Aruku during nightly rounds and forced a cup of tea into the elf’s hand. “If you intend to stay and you wish to be useful, you will drink that and steel yourself,” he says. Aruku didn't balk and simply drank the tea, not noticing the taste at all. "Alright." He couldn't sleep anyways. Being assistant to Sanjay kept him occupied and they worked together in quiet accord. It was like a grim test of stamina between the two as they settled into a work rhythm. Working their way through the next few days without sleep and only taking breaks for necessities the pair efficiently treated as many victims and refugees as they could; mostly those folk from Teldrassil or near it who had gotten 'lucky' in escaping via means other than the portal to Stormwind. Azuremyst was the nearest safe port for anyone without teleportation. It was dawning on the third day after the tragedy when the thin blood elf finally collapsed between one step and the next, having driven himself to his limits. Strain lined his face even while unconscious, leaving him looking worn out and used up. With all the beds in the clinic and its overflow area filled it ended up being Vemy who took the exhausted young man home and put him in bed there. With her husband gone there was plenty of room for a scrawny elf and between her shifts she took care of him too. ----------------------------------- Resting he might be in bed but Aruku's mind was fitful, struggling to make sense of everything that had happened. The Horde set fire to Teldrassil, a World tree. Those damn stupid orcs, those hateful undead. Why had no one stopped it? Why had no one stood up? What had the Tauren been doing with all their Earthmother talk? The blood elves should have known destroying a magical world tree was bad! Even the goblins should have recognized that Teldrassil was more profitable existing than being ashes! …. did those in the Horde he had counted as friends, had they been part of this? Had people he'd healed been the cause of this suffering? Even unprovoked, the Horde would attack and kill. They might as well be The Grim. He could feel bitterness replacing the emptiness inside of him, that once had held such love for everyone and everything. Was this how the world had always been, and the Light had just made him blind to it? Without Janala he alone had to raise all these kids; find a way to support, feed and clothe them. Bitterness sparked anger, helplessness turned into frustration. Without magical talent, physical prowess or mental sharpness how was he supposed to do that? Alchemy made some gold, but all the best herbs were in dangerous places. And worst of all he looked like a Horde. Aruku was almost tempted to fix that by embracing the Void but some lingering bit of self preservation kept him from doing it. With the state of mind he was in he'd be lost to it immediately. Driven with no goal he rose, mechanically taking his hearthstone to set up a place for his kids to be taken care of while he lost himself in trying to find a new path to follow, a reason to continue.
  35. 1 point
    Lor'Danel was falling, the last defense before the Horde reached Teldrassil. Pressing her lips together grimly the green haired night elf surveyed the map and markers of her family's assets. People, goods, equipment, knowledge stores; it was too much to move at once but if they could just move things that couldn't be taken now into hiding, they could be retrieved under the noses of the Horde during occupation of the city. Her people were skilled at that. Snapping out orders and arranging plans to the best of her ability she sent clan members out of the hidden burrows with missives, knowing they were racing against time with their lives on the line. Not enough time, never enough time. Janala felt like she was always trying to beat time; first in her own life, then in her husband's life, now for all of her clans' family's' lives. She'd won the first two of those, now... There was a little shudder in the ground under her feet. It'd not been long enough, by her estimations only the most essential things had been moved and non-essential family members should just be packing up or heading out now. Looking about the empty burrow alcove she slowly walked out, her pregnancy slowing her down. She should be leaving soon as well, once everyone had their orders. Giving a little harrumph at the idea of having to use a beast for transportation instead of shifting forms as she usually did the young lady rubbed her rounded abdomen, smiling softly as she murmured reassurances to the baby girl within. Up ahead she could hear running, stumbling footsteps coming towards her. Frowning Janala started at her slow pace up the passageway, stopping when she saw a panicked mother and child round the bend. These clan members were not the ones she expected to see. “Teldrassil...” gasps out the other lady, tears welling up in her eyes. “It's burning! We... we're trapped!” Hugging her young child tightly she trembled. Pursing her lips Janala tried to stay calm, someone had to have a cool head here. “We will exit the burrow and get the nearest Hippogryph, there should...” she was cut off by the other lady's wail. “No, we're trapped, in the burrow! Fire's everywhere outside, in the entrance...” Shaking her head she sobbed, already the smell of smoke was drifting down from the passageway up. Violet skin blanched in color as understanding set in. Placing a hand on the other lady's back she rubbed and asked softly, “Honey, is anyone else in here with us?” A 'no' shake of the head was the reply given. Options were quickly becoming slim. Awkwardly standing there trying to soothe one of her subordinate's and her crying child Janala had many thoughts running through her mind. There was one way out but it wouldn't take all of them, even this small of a group. Selfishly she had wanted to use it for herself to get out just before the Horde came in. It'd take her to her home on Azuremyst, where she could be with her children and her loving husband. Her eyes softened as she thought of them and him, then looked down at the two next to her. She knew what Aruku'd do, crazy as it was. And she knew how he'd feel if he knew she didn't try to save these two when she saved herself. Giving a sad little smile Janala settled heavily next to the pair with a little 'ooopf,' taking and drawing their hands into her own. “Do not cry, everything is going to be alright sweeties.” With one hand the druidess reached into a bag at her side, withdrawing a hearthstone. “This is not set to Darnassus, this will take you to my home on Azuremyst.” “I.. we couldn't you're Head of...” “Shhhh,” Giving the two a reassuring smile she placed the stone into the middle of their joined hands, “We will just see how many it can take at once, perhaps Elune will bless our trip.” With a deep breath she made up her mind. Please Elune, let this work. “Be sure to hold on tightly, ok?” When she'd gotten nods of agreement and saw hope in their eyes the three of them held onto the hearthstone, practically covering its surface with their hands. Smoke wafting in thickened as Janala traced the rune to activate the teleportation device, a soft green glow issuing forth from between the group's hands. Reaching out it enveloped them, whisking away to safety those who had previously been without hope. As the green glow disappeared, only Janala was left behind in the otherwise empty burrow corridor. Gently lowering her hands onto her rounded stomach she began to sing softly, strangely at ease with her fate but still mourning for her child to be. You had your whole life ahead And that I took away from you Was it selfish of me to decide this To save lives precious to another? I wish I could have shown the joys and wonders of the world to you Held your perfect little hands in mine and shared in your triumphs as you grew. But it shall never pass now so to you I give a lullaby, a story of the place where we lived and shall die. In purity, all things are born. The eldest tree was once a tender sapling, And even the stars were young. O Lady Elune, Weep tears so sweet At the thought of the innocence That once was ours. The huntress' horn has sounded! To battle, it calls us now, To the defense of all we hold dear: This city, This well of the moon, This soft song of the evening breeze. it calls us, And we answer. The jewel of our city Lies within their craven grasp. One last time, we shall stand. One final act, we shall perform By the light of the moons, By the flash of our blades, By the song of our arrows, We shall triumph-- Or we shall fall. The tree has fire for leaves And skeletons for branches And its roots feed only upon The ashes of the dead. The winds that sigh through it now are the cries of the dying And this daughter, This lament For horrors unspeakable, For cruelty unimaginable, For this life and the beauty and the grace that once were And shall never be again. By the moons' glow, listen. Beside the river, listen. Holding those you live, listen: To the cries of the dying, To the whisper of the wind over the silent dead, To the song my broken heart will ever sing Of the story of the Tree of the World And the death of all the dreams It once cradled in its mighty boughs. -----------------------------------------------
  36. 1 point
    Things continued that way for some time. The routine changed when Sanjay returned with the new patients and healers. The clinic exploded in size and began to resemble a true hospital, albeit with few real walls or beds. Though it was easy to get lost in the tangled mass of wounded, sick, and healers, Aruku found himself constantly working alongside Vemynisa. Every day they grew more in-sync, able to assist one another with barely a word spoken between them. The Draenei spoke to the elf freely about nearly anything, and was an attentive listener when Aruku spoke. While Aruku didn't seem to think the near constant presence of Vemy was odd, he did end up opening up and relaxing around her more, acting more his normal self. That came with both raunchy jokes, casual flirting & talk of his family, at least as far as she was comfortable with. One of their break conversations over hot beverages; coffee for Vemy, tea for Aruku; turns to baking plans to treat the staff. Both of them have spouses who are hazards in the kitchen so it'd be a nice change of pace to make food with someone else... and maybe afterwards they can enjoy one another's company in a different way. Before more plans are made Sanjay bursts into the room, clenching his jaw with iron strength. “Those damn maniacs...you two haven’t heard yet, have you?” He glances between the two, his eyes stern and angry, but underneath the anger there lies something Aruku has never seen in Sanjay before. Fear. Puzzlement and worry showed on the thin man's face, and by the lack of reaction it was evident before he even spoke that he hadn't heard. "What happened?" While his mind flew through several thoughts he wasn't about to presume what it might be yet. “It’s Teldrassil,” the monk says, “The Horde set fire to it. The entire tree is ablaze.” Vemynisa gasps. She puts a hand over her mouth. “By the Naaru...” Aruku stared blankly at Sanjay for a long moment, his mind refusing to grasp what the words meant. Teldrassil couldn't be completely on fire, it was giant! When Sanjay's expression didn't change his golden eyes grew wide in alarm and he spun to dash for the door. While recklessly speeding off he dug out his hearthstone, trying to reach his wife in Darnassus to let her know if she didn't already. Sanjay sidesteps, still cursing under his breath. Vemynisa leaps to her hooves and races after the elf. "Aruku!" she calls after him, "I--I think we're going to need you even more now..." She fidgets nervously. Too wrapped up in the panic of trying to make sure his wife was alive and safe, and needing to see this with his own eyes the blood elf bolted out of the clinic and across the Exodar. It seemed everyone was still in a bit of shock at the news so he managed to exit unhindered, panting as he passed through the bits of wall around the city till he could get a view of Teldrassil. Already there was dark smoke making a smudge on the sky in that direction, under lit by an angry orange light. He wasn't the only one out here either. Others had come out to stare in horrified disbelief to the north east. Men, women, young, old, all were gathered in an eerie quiet vigil only broken by sobbing here and there.
  37. 1 point
    As with most such things everything had started out fine. Time had come around for the visit to the Exodar Sanjay had said he'd work on getting through for Aruku. As Janala was off in Outlands working on growing their new home that meant the young blood elf had brought along the entire entourage of half-breed children with him to visit, much to the dismay of his host Sanjay. Fortunately the human's working partner Ingrid, an easygoing dwarf lady was delighted by the additions. Dropping the kids off at their friends was uneventful enough and allowed Aruku to pay attention when he was brought over and shown about the human monk's pride and joy in the Crystal Tier: 'The Sands of Time Healing Clinic.' Tucked in a back corner it was a modest establishment but homey. It wasn't long before the blood elf had been introduced to most the workers and had waded in with Sanjay to lend a hand, having some casual.... ok, maybe not so casual conversation. But before the talk could get more awkward and uncomfortable... “Sanjay!” Ingrid cried as she burst into the room, looking panicked. “There’s been an attack in Kalimdor! The Horde is marching on Darkshore!” Those words marked the end of the pleasant trip, and the beginning of working full shifts along with the others in the clinic as they received injuries that couldn't be taken care of out in the field. Sanjay left to go to the warfront, leaving Ingrid in charge. Temporary beds and rooms were set up outside and still there was concern of not having enough space to handle it if things got worse. Everyone in the city was pitching in in their own ways, even the older kids were being sent on tasks and given responsibilities around the Exodar. Aruku's wife, Janala had returned to Darnassus and was doing work she could what with being in the late stages of her pregnancy. Mostly giving orders and handling the Shadowblade family's organization to this crisis, or at least that's what Aruku understood of it. The week rushes by at a blinding speed. Injured soldiers and civilians run through the clinic like a river of blood, and in the thick of the tide stand Aruku, Ingrid, and Vemynisa. Ingrid mostly operates on her own, leaving Aruku and the Draenei woman to work together most of the week. She’s quiet mainly, and her thoughts seem preoccupied. Yet she always seems strangely close to Aruku. Every so often their hands brush against one another and she rushes to hide her blushing face. When she does speak to him, she always seems out of breath and flustered. Between treating the injuries, grabbing bites to eat here and there and the tiredness at the end of the long shifts, Aruku couldn't find a good time to ask Vemy about her shy reactions to him. His golden eyes ask questions but there never seems to be a free moment to put voice to it. When a full week has passed, Vemy finds Aruku in the break room with a roll of paper in hand. “I have something for you,” she says. Hearing her words and seeing the paper his heart jumped in his chest. He'd nearly forgotten his pass here was only for a week, was this an order for him to leave? Worried he raised his golden eyes to meet the draenei lady's, "Is it good, or bad news?" "That depends on you. I spoke with the ambassador's office, and convinced them to extend your visit indefinitely to assist with wartime treatments." She hands him the scroll, sealed with the pink and gold seal of the Prophet. Her hand lingers by his a moment before she promptly retreats a couple steps. The thin man's eyes grow big as he looks at the seal then up at her. Questions come out as incredulity and relief fight for space on his features, "I can stay?" The rhetorical inquiry was quickly followed by, "You did this for me?" Vemy opens her mouth, closes it, then clears her throat and says, “I did it for the sick and wounded of this war. They need your help — our help.” While he might not be quick on other things, social things he was decent at. Giving Vemy a soft smile despite the tiredness from the long week of work he took the few steps over to her and gave her a quick, strong hug of thanks. "Yer a nice gal, ya know that?" Vemynisa freezes at the embrace. Her face flushes a deep blue color, which she tries to hide with her facial tentacles. "You...you're not bad," she manages with a cough. Giving one final squeeze he lets her go, a hint of mischief twinkling in his eyes as he looks up at her. "Thanks cutie." Her blush transcends embarrassment. This time she reaches out to pat his cheek. “It—it was my pleasure,” she says awkwardly before clopping out of the break room. Smiling after the nice lady (and view) exiting the room he took a seat, happy she had willingly touched him at last without moving away. Breaking the seal open on the paper he read over it, more of a formality since Vemy had told him what was inside already. At least something good had happened.
  38. 1 point
    A story: When I was a kid there was one special Christmas where I reached the end of opening presents and was a bit sad. I had wanted a copy of Warcraft 2: Tides of Darkness and it didnt show up. I had gotten to play it as a demo at microcenter and stop-n-save (an early discount predecessor of EB games) and I fell in love with it. I talked to my parents incessantly about it, begging them for it. But, that was also the year that my family had been introduced to "A Christmas Story". So, what my old man did was hide one last present under the easy chair and gave me the, "look at that . . . Is that another present?" routine from the film. As far as childhood christmas gifts go, this one is the best one I ever got. I played WC2 over and over again, for hours on end, over the course of years. I did the WC3 thing and enjoyed that as well. But my nostalgic bend was always towards WC2. When WoW came out I had a choice, Alliance or Horde. The competitive nature of the game wasn't lost on my highschool self and so I knew I would pick and stick to one side. In WC2 I played human more than orc. Then, through the WC3 campaign I never forgot Lordaeron and took a special joy in playing the human campaign. There was one character however who made the decision quite easy for me. Garithos. He was the lynchpin in how I understood what the Alliance and Horde were at their core. So the choice became easy. I would play as the Forsaken. That was who I played as in WC2. I was also drawn to the lost history elements of the ruined lordaeron, strathholm, hillsbrad, alterac and plaugelands. When BC came out my commitment only grew deeper, I now got to play as the elves I played in WC2 as well. Now, when I log in and look out over Zuldazar, I suppose some small part of me is still playing the Alliance, way back in the 1990s. I guess I am now the Horde that was once the Alliance. Lok'tar Ogar
  39. 1 point
    Hey out there, just wanted to post a quick hello to all the awesome rp’ers at the TNG. I’ve been an on and off wow player since vanilla with a little bit of content in each x-pac. My last serious RP times were on this very server way back in vanilla as a brief member of the original “Frostwolf Brotherhood” under the leadership of Brakogar. That was some of my all time favourite moments playing wow. So stoked to see that the TNG still exists and is going strong and looking forward to connecting with some RP in the future. Character Bio to come later this week.
  40. 1 point
    Let's try this again, before someone else comes to see me. I haven't written anything in a while. I used to just dump all of my emotions into these journals and in the end I'd feel a little better, but I don't know if it ever solved anything. Lately I think I've been dumping most of those emotions into Garinth, poor guy. He doesn't deserve that, even if he is my shaman. He talked through the Night Vanguard business, the fact that our connection to them makes us a target, and that was important for me to keep in mind when I broke our ties with them. Unfortunately, it goes a lot deeper then that. Because as much as I don't want to put us all at risk, I might consider it if I knew the Vanguard would have our best interests in mind. As it is, I don't think they do, and that's troubling. I don't want to alarm our "in-betweeners", but I think the war is drawing closer to us than we can fight off for much longer. I've already received a request to the warfront in Arathi. The Horde is attempting to gain a foothold in the north. A strategic move, supposedly, but I don't see the benefit of us being there. That's my head talking. My heart wants me to go for stupid reasons, pride especially. If the Alliance does away with our bases in Arathi, Hammerall will go. I have no good memories of Hammefall, really. Nothing but the day Thrall came and liberated us. My father is dead. There's nothing left for me, so why do I want to protect it? Because my mother is buried there, somewhere? It's just earth. It means nothing, except for some stupid reason it means something. I keep trying to remember something, anything good that might make me want to go back, but even my mother trying to protect me is painful. I'm the reason she died. I suppose going to war over bad memories would be a shit way to show my gratitude. Still, there's something in me that wants it. That pride. I know there will be fighting, that brutal bloody warfare that we sing about. I refuse to believe there is honor in attempting to conquer someone else's home, but the Trollbanes aren't weak. They would put up a good fight, and there would be shouts and metal and brutality to remember forever. Just thinking about me gets me anxious. I want what I know is the wrong thing. I just have to distract myself with worthy causes and try to ignore the fact that my birthplace is a battlefield. It's difficult. I miss having someone to talk to. At least the pups are here. They're terrible at cuddling, so I'm teaching them. I hope their new partners appreciate all the work I'm putting into their cuddle training.
  41. 1 point
    “How are you handling things, little wolf?” Holun asked curiously, not struggling on the hike nearly as much as either of the Frostwolf pair. There was little that Garinth could do to rush acclimating to the high altitude, but the work had to be done. All he could do was move slowly and try not to stress himself or Greywind too much. As he looked up to his white furred guide, the tauren added, “Generally, I mean. You seem...perhaps better off than last we met.” Chest heaving as they paused to take a break, Garinth gave a nod. “Your guidance helped,” he replied with a raise of his eyebrows. “I’m not...I’m not trying to use them to be something else anymore. I wasn’t ever going to be what my father was.” The shaman reached for his waterskin then, and took a long draw from the cool water within. “There’s more to it than that,” Holun replied with a wizened smile, his demeanor shifting subtly and growing more relaxed as he leaned against his walking staff. “You carry yourself differently, straighter perhaps. Even your grandmother seemed more at ease when we spoke last night.” That earned a weak smile from the half-orc, and a swift shake of his head. “That’s not entirely my own doing, Holun. I feel, lately at least, that I have been fulfilling my purpose. I’m training with the Winds, but most of my time has been occupied with offering guidance and shelter. The organization I belong to underwent a shuffle of leadership a few months back, and I was called to help with it.” The tauren gave a thoughtful hum in reply, and then made sure that his traveling companions were ready before starting to move up the mountain again. Mid stride, Holun’s shoulders seemed to hunch a little and his age grew more apparent. “Is that why you’re here then? More of this...guidance and shelter business?” “Everyone else is too consumed with the war,” Garinth replied, having to break up his sentences to breathe again as he trudged along behind. Greywind continued alongside him in silence, panting but otherwise seeming mostly at ease in the thing air. “They either want to avoid it or...join it. None of my ancestors have any experience with it. My position...involves keeping members safe so... someone needs to be looking for ways to protect ourselves from these things. And maybe...maybe it’ll help with what’s happening to Azeroth too.” “You’re not a member of the Ring anymore, little wolf,” Holun chided quickly, “If you were, you would know they had already been here to see what could be made of the wards. I doubt you will glean anything they have not already.” The reproach quieted the half-orc, and he resorted to following along in silence afterward. The was plenty enough to look at on the hike, so near to the mountain’s peak granting a broad vantage of the Broken Isles. It was nearly an hour later that they reached their destination, and the tauren stopped to point a a hollow ahead. “That stone in the center there, that marked the location of this ward. We should have a few hours up here before we need to head back down for the day.” The tauren paused then, and gave the shaman a quick look over. “Will that be long enough?” Garinth’s gaze drew distant then, but after a few moments he nodded. “It’ll have to be. Even if I wanted to set up camp here, there’s not enough shelter in that bowl to keep safe from the storms.” Holun gave a simple nod to the half-orc’s appraisal, and began to lead them down into depression.
  42. 1 point
    Hi guys, and welcome to roleplay! This guide is designed to give you a basic understanding of where to begin, terms and basic etiquette so you can feel comfortable when just starting out, as well as some suggested addons and additional resources. Please note that some of the terms and concepts I mention you may have heard of before: this is because this guide is meant to cover as much as possible from the ground up! GLOSSARY OF TERMS/ABBREVIATIONS RP - RolePlay, in context usually referring to a group of people creating a story within the bounds of the lore of the game IC - In Character, this refers to any speech, thoughts, actions or anything else that is created from a character's perspective. If you someone says they are "IC" it means that they are currently playing the character and any actions or things they say are interpreted as coming from the character OOC - Out Of Character, essentially the opposite of IC, its anything that’s just coming from the player themselves and not the character, if someone says they're doing something "OOC" it means that whatever they're doing isn't the actions of the character Canon - This refers to anything that is accepted by the RP community as being fact, or existing, this can refer to lore that exists in the game itself or it can be used to talk about events that have happened in RP. Example: "Is it actually canon that your character plays the saxophone?" If you said that as a joke OOC, the answer would be no, if it’s actually in character that your character plays the sax, the answer is yes PM/DM/Whisper - sending someone a private message Powerlevel - refers to how powerful characters within a community are, different guilds and RP communities operate on different powerlevels. Some guilds might be playing their characters as able to take down a wild god and others might play their characters as common footsoldiers who can only really go toe to toe with a gnoll PC/OC - Player Character or Original Character, this refers to the characters people play generally for an extended period of time. Usually this is reflected by an actual character that they have ingame. NPC - Non Player Character, this can either refer to a character written by Blizzard who exists in the game and is not played by any player or characters invented for short term usage by players that are played within roleplay to further a story. Example: I once briefly played a judge for a scene where some PCs were in trouble with the law ERP - Erotic Roleplay, roleplay with a sexual/erotic context Post - Used more commonly to describe out of game rp (discord/forum/tumblr), a post contains all the actions and dialog a character of a certain moment, generally rotating players post by post as the rp progresses Scene - this usually refers to one session of rp in a single setting, if you have a conversation in a bar with someone, and then later meet up with them to kill skeletons, those are two different scenes Storyline/Campaign - an overarching story that takes up multiple scenes, usually with several characters DM/GM - Dungeon Master/Game Master, a term taken from DnD, this is the person who guides a storyline and is ultimately in control of where it goes and what opposition the players face Metagaming - Using OOC knowledge to give a character an advantage IC OP/Powergaming - (OverPowered) Someone who uses a powerlevel much higher than the people they are RPing with PvP - Player versus Player, anything that pits one player or PC against one another PvE - Player versus Environment, pitting player or players against NPCs RP Dissonance - a descriptor for when two characters/stories are incompatible because of conflicting lore/character interactions with the world/power level/etc. Example: two characters that both have and always carry The Ashbringer IC trying to interact Tavern/Campfire RP - RP that is generally relatively unattached to a storyline and is simply a social venture Godmodding - taking control of another player's character in a roleplay (very bad) OOC vs IC The first and most basic thing to understand when starting out in roleplay is that IC and OOC are separate things and should be kept separate. Your character can hate my character and we can still be friends as players! It's extremely important to keep communication OOC open to prevent any hard feelings. If someone says something mean to you in character; understand that it does not mean that they don't like you OOC. Generally though, if you are saying something mean or hurtful to someone IC it’s a good idea to reassure them OOC. Usually when RPing in game you'll have a channel that's dedicated to talking OOCly: sometimes this is an actual chat channel in game that you can /join <channel name>, many guilds will have these and TNRH also has community and /join RP for the whole server, but sometimes it's just party or raidchat. Whatever channel you use will likely be labeled or agreed on beforehand, but if you ever have to say something OOC in an IC channel you can denote that by putting a double parenthesis on either side: ((like this! Anything written in here will be understood to be OOC)) Sometimes people will just tack them on the end of a single line or post and it will mean the same thing.)) In game, /say and /emote (or /me) are pretty much always considered to be IC when RPing. Generally, if you're not sure if a channel in game is IC or OOC (/guild might vary by guild for example) just ask with the ((double parenthesis.)) In forums, they are usually labeled by section as to whether they're IC or OOC. In discord RP, usually IC channels and OOC channels are specified by either channel name or category. SPELLING, GRAMMAR and ACCENTS Generally speaking in roleplay you're going to want to write with proper grammar and spelling to the best of your ability. If you have some difficulty that causes more than average errors, such as dyslexia or if you're RPing in a language that isn't your first, it might be a good idea to let your partner know OOCly that you care about the RP but might have a bit of trouble with spelling or grammar. In my experience everyone is extremely understanding of someone who's having trouble as long as they know it's not a reflection on how the person feels about the RP (like if you’re just being sloppy because you don’t care). It's worth noting that usually nobody minds a few typos or bungled sentences, it's only when things get genuinely difficult to read that it usually really becomes an issue. If someone has a hard time reading what you write, they may be less inclined to RP with you. With legibility in mind, let's talk accents. If you want to play a character with an accent, you'll want to adjust your dialog to match the appropriate phonetics of that accent. For example, dwarves generally speak with something akin to a scottish accent, so if you're playing a dwarf, you'll likely want to change the dialog to match that. Keep in mind you should only change the dialog, there's no reason to carry your accents into any emotes or actions you might perform. Furthermore, when you do an accent try to keep a certain level of readability, your accent might be spot on with more letter substitutions and clipped gerunds but there's a certain point where everyone around you is scratching their heads on what you could possibly be saying. It's hard to RP with someone if you can't understand anything they're saying! To use an example, in the movie Brave the main character says: "Mom, it's just my bow" which would be totally acceptable, but perhaps feels a little bland to you, so you could write "Maaaaauhm, eet's joos' meh boooo" which is still technically the same sentence, if a bit hard to parse, so maybe something closer to "Mum, it's jus' me bow" which more or less gets across that the character is speaking with this accent without making it overtly hard to read, about average between the two earlier ones Where you want to fall on the scale of no accent to heavy accent in your writing is entirely on you and your preferences there's no 'correct' way to write accents, but do try and keep in mind that someone else has to read that accent and hopefully understand it. Again, OOC vs IC, its possible for a character to not understand an accent, but in general you want the player to be able to understand it. ROLEPLAY “RULES” - BASIC RP ETIQUETTE Before I get into the “rules” of RP, I want to sort of put forth a disclaimer - people don’t always follow these, and some of these aren’t things I would personally necessarily call “bad” in an RP; this isn’t any kind of callout and if you do these things I’m not looking to make you feel bad about it. This is mostly “people may find this rude, so don’t be surprised if doing these things ruffles someone’s feathers or gets you in trouble with your guild.” Most of these rules exist to prevent RP dissonance, because causing too much of it may make people hesitant to RP with you. Different RP for Different Groups A very important thing keep in mind is to be aware of the group you find yourself RPing in; this could be a guild, a server community, a massive cross-realm WoW group or just a handful of friends. What your RP looks like in the context of these different spaces can be wildly disparate. The power-level of characters can swing pretty heavily from group to group, how fast and loose with the lore you are, character interactions with major lore figures, etc. Generally speaking, the more people in the group you’re RPing with, the more restrictive and close to the etiquette rules listed here you’re going to be expected to play. When you’re just writing a RP with one friend that isn’t considered canon in a larger RP sphere, anything you agree on goes; but if you’re in a guild with a bunch of people whose stories and characters are affected by your RP they’re going to frown pretty heavily on you bringing in that much RP dissonance. If you’re ever not sure what your groups feelings on something are, just ask OOC first! Interacting Directly with Major Lore Objects/Characters and Why You Shouldn’t Most of the time, interacting with major lore characters/objects/events in the game in a large and personal way is discouraged. This is to avoid the RP dissonance of say, you walking up to me in an RP and telling me how you slew Gul’dan with your own two hands and I’m like “but I slew Gul’dan with my own two hands!” Obviously, that would be a pretty big problem to try and RP around (we can’t both have strangled Gul’dan to death without having at least met doing it). It would usually be considered acceptable to say that you were part of a large team that assisted in the efforts to defeat him--but the actual kill is generally attributed to some nameless generic hero possessed by no PC. This goes for slaying major lore characters, dating major lore characters, possessing important one of a kind artifacts, even in some circles interacting with major lore characters in any way. Obviously this means that what you play through the game is not a direct translation of what your character does. When you play through the quests in game, you’re treated as the one true hero of azeroth--but in an RP setting, you need more room for the other players to be just as important as you are. Additionally, often just saying your character is in direct contact with a major lore character can cause RP dissonance. If I walk into an RP and say “King Anduin directly ordered me to burn down this Horde orphanage and kill a bunch of orphans because he just hates orphans so much” I’m sort of putting a bunch of lore and words in Anduin’s mouth that I have no right to. Most people would probably be furious at the idea that I’m establishing a canon where Anduin hates orphans and wants them dead. Anduin hating orphans is an extreme example, but any time you as a player are putting words into a game character’s mouth, it’s likely that you’ll encounter resistance. This is avoided by just never having PCs interact directly with any sort of major lore characters. Again, how acceptable this is and what is acceptable varies by your RP group, but usually minor NPCs in the WoW are considered fair game (having heard something from a barkeep in a small town, for example). A word of caution however: Blizzard may decide to do things you don’t expect with the NPCs you tie your characters to, and dealing with that can be difficult and radically change your character. Take it from someone who made their character from the Cliffwalker tribe before playing through the Cataclysm Stonetalon storyline: your entire family may wind up dead. Lore Nobody expects you to know everything, especially right away, but you should try to stay as within the lore of the game as much as you can. Lore is primarily important because it sort of greases the wheels of RP. If you and the person you’re RPing with aren’t operating with the same rules of how the world works in mind, it’s going to cause RP dissonance. Most people won’t mind if you don’t know things, but what’s important is that you try and that you’re open to people politely correcting you. I’m never going to be upset with someone who doesn’t know everything (goodness knows I don’t, despite how many years I’ve been playing) but I will be hesitant to RP with someone who gets angry or upset when they’re told the lore is different from what they thought, or can’t at least have rational discussion about it. Powerlevel Powerlevel is definitely something you should try and be very aware of from group to group. Every established RP group is likely also going to have a sort of understood powerlevel, sometimes your characters are expected to only be as powerful as the local city guard, other times they’re powerful saviors of the universe, and getting to know which one you are in is very important. As much fun as it might seem, generally being more powerful than all the PCs you’re interacting with (powergaming) is going to turn people off from RPing with you. As an example, in my guild we have a decently high power-level, where together a number of the PCs took down a corrupted wild god at one point. But, a smaller facet of the guild was a tribe of Tauren I was a part of--and for a bit we avoided bringing any of our more powerful magical friends to our village because we wanted to explore some stories at a lower power-level. It’s hard to play out the struggles of getting fresh water to irrigate crops if a shaman or a mage can just snap their fingers and fix the problems, rendering the story over. In the same vein, choosing what race your character is can be dependant on powerlevel. All playable races are of course, fair game. But, if you want to play something that isn’t a playable race, you’re generally going to need to make sure they’re on the same powerlevel as the playable races. If someone walks up in RP as a Taunka very few people will balk at that, and even very few would have a problem with something a little more off-brand like an Arrakoa or a Jinyu. The problem generally arises when someone is playing a race that’s implied to be much more powerful than the others. For example, if you’re a Naaru in disguise, people might not be keen on RPing with you. One of the most common examples of this is people playing dragons: some communities take huge issue with people playing dragons but others are ok with it--if you are thinking about playing one make sure you ask around your RP community first to see how they view these things. Godmodding As defined in the glossary, godmodding is the act of controlling a character that belongs to another player and is heavily frowned on. The easiest to understand and most common place this comes up is in combat situations. For example, if my character is Arahe and the person I’m RPing with has a character named Gahnder, it would be godmodding if I wrote a post that was “Arahe cuts off Gahnder’s arm with her glaive,” instead, I would want to write a post that only involves my own character’s actions and reactions. “Arahe swings her glaive at Gahnder’s arm” would be the proper way to phrase the post, because Gahnder can decide how much damage, if any, his arm receives. MetaGaming Another thing I want to cover is meta-gaming, which is keeping IC and OOC knowledge separate. I already went into OOC vs IC a bit earlier, but I want to run through it in the context of meta-gaming. It’s important to limit your character’s knowledge to just what they would actually know, even if you as a player know more than them. For example, you as a player might know that your sneaky rogue friend is creeping up behind your character unseen, but your character might not be aware and get surprised! Or, you might know from an OOC perspective that another character is alive after an attack, but your character is still in the dark. This is most frustrating when used directly against another PC; it can make it hard to react to things, but also break down trust between players and cause hesitance in revealing ‘too much’ of things that should be discussed ahead of time because the meta-gamer might ruin them. It is also generally frowned upon when it comes to lore from the game. If in a cutscene/book/etc Genn Greymane whispers in Anduin’s ear some sort of secret and nobody else is around to hear it, your character probably doesn’t know that secret and it would be strange to go around telling other people about it--or worse, expecting them to know about it. Post Etiquette and Turn Order When RPing, always try to communicate one post at a time that contains a full action/piece of dialong without constantly adding additional lines and wait for the person/people you’re RPing with to respond before adding more. This is especially important ingame or in places where you can’t see if the other person is typing. If you’re writing a longer post and you don’t have an addon which allows you to type it out at once, include an ellipsis at the end (...) to let the other person know that you’re not done with your post yet. It can be extremely difficult to respond to someone who is constantly adding more to their post in seperate lines because you might start typing out a response and then have to change it with each following line, or you might not know when they’re finished and you should post. Always try to let everyone else respond to each piece of information before continuing, unless they’ve said it’s ok to skip them OOC. For example: Don’t: Player A: “Hello!” Player A: “How are you?” Player A: “I just got back from the front.” Player A: Character A reaches out to pat Character B’s pet on the head. Player A: “Our mutual friend got injured in last week’s attack.” Player B: “Hello. I’m well, how are you? Are they ok?” In this instance, Player B probably has to rewrite their post several times to react to each new input, taking them even longer to post and likely getting frustrated in the process, and may just sit and wait after the last line, wondering if Player A is ready for a response yet. Do: Player A: “Hello! How are you?” Player B: “Hello. I’m well, how are you?” Player A: “I just got back from the front.” Character A reaches out to pat Character B’s pet on the head. “Our mutual friend got injured in last week’s attack. I went to go visit them and spoke with them at some length. We discussed…” Player A: “some plans that I think would interest you.” Player B: Character B’s pet makes a happy noise at the head pats. “Oh? Are they alright? What sort of plans?” Here, Player A gives Player B a chance to respond to more reasonable chunks of information and the flow of conversation feels a bit better. It might even stand to be a little more broken up. Player A is also keeping it clear where the posts end, so Player B knows when to respond. Entering a Scene in Progress If you see a pair of people already engaged in an RP, it's totally possible to join in! If it's ingame in a public space like a tavern or at an RP event, usually you're good to just walk up and join them. The same is true for forum or discord RP which has been denoted as "open rp." The rest of the time, however, it's polite to whisper or ask in an OOC chat if it's ok to join the scene. It can throw people off if they're engaged in a serious story-line conversation if you just jump right in, but most of the time people will be open and happy to include you if you ask! Basic Ingame Manners Generally, when you're RPing ingame, you'll want to toggle on walk instead of run (the default keybind is / on the numpad). Often people will identify that you're IC and entering a scene when you're walking. If you don't have a RP Profile Addon, this is an easy way for people to know that you're an RPer! Avoid excessive use of moves/running around in circles/toys just because you're bored between posts. If your character is jumping up and down on the table IC that's fine, but keep in mind that your character's movements and actions while in an RP scene are considered IC and people will react to that, and may find too much activity annoying or distracting in both an OOC and IC sense. To Quickly Summarize RP Etiquette: You only control your character, never control or directly affect someone else’s PC without their explicit OOC permission. Your character does not experience everything you play through in the game, and you should avoid direct contact with important lore figures and objects. Try to keep lore in mind and be open to discussions about lore and how it pertains to your characters. Keep your character’s power level roughly on par with whoever you’re RPing with. OOC knowledge should be kept separate from your character’s IC knowledge. Construct your posts in a way that makes them clear and easy for your RP partner to respond to. And again, all of these guidelines are just that, they are not necessarily a direct reflection on my own personal RP views, and they are subject to change a bit from RP community to RP community. They are just to let you know what may be frowned upon in whatever community you may find yourself in. Make sure you keep clear and open OOC communication with your community to find out what’s acceptable! Combat In RP, combat can be handled in a few different ways. The most common are dice rolls, duels and RP combat. Dice Combat: Usually used if you don’t really know/trust your opponent and you want to guarantee a fair fight. Usually it’s as simple as both players rolling a die and whoever rolls higher succeeds. This can either be a single roll that determines the winner of the fight, or multiple rolls that determine each move and how successful they are. Sometimes people will just roll a die on their own and sort of arbitrarily determine how successful they are at moves/attacks/avoidances/etc by how high or low they roll. Duel Combat: this combat is simply fighting someone PvP ingame in a duel to determine who canonically wins a fight ICly RP Combat: Here, you just write out your moves/reactions to your opponents moves at eachother, my earlier example of godmodding is an example of a possible RP combat post. If you do this form of combat, it's polite to at least take minor hits sometimes. It can be very boring if two characters are just dodging every single move the other throws out, and frustrating if players are taking down a difficult NPC monster a GM is running without taking any hits. The GM won’t godmod you into being injured, but they might be less inclined to run things for you if you breeze through their final boss without a scratch. WoW ADDONS Most addons for WoW can be downloaded and managed very easily through the twitch app (what was once the curse app). Generally just search the names in the twitch app to find them. I will try to update these as needed. If you have suggestions for other RP addons, please leave a comment and I’ll add them. I highly recommend picking up at least one of the profile addons, just because it makes it immediately apparent to others that you’re also an RPer. Total Roleplay 3 (By EllypseCelweBelore) - A profile RP addon (will not work with XRP or MyRoleplay also installed, but will communicate with them so you’ll see profiles from them as well. Basically you have to pick one of the three of these.) that lets you make custom profiles for your characters/pets/mounts/etc, find other RPers on the map, spot other RPers at a glance, and make chat customizations. You can also change your character’s name and give yourself a last name. The extended version also includes the ability to make documents, quests and a whole bunch of other complicated and fun stuff. It’s worth noting that all RP profile addons can be reported to and moderated by blizzard, so don’t put anything in them that would get you in trouble if you said it in /say! MyRoleplay (by Etarna, KatorieHooves, TheGildedFox and EllypseCelweBelore) - A profile RP addon (will not work with XRP or TRP also installed, but will communicate with them so you’ll see profiles from them as well. Basically you have to pick one of the three of these.) that lets you make custom profiles for your characters, spot other RPers at a glance, change your character’s name and give yourself a last name and give people other information. It’s a bit more lightweight and easy to use than the other ones. It’s worth noting that all RP profile addons can be reported to and moderated by blizzard, so don’t put anything in them that would get you in trouble if you said it in /say! XRP (by BorBlasthammer) - A profile RP addon (will not work with MyRoleplay or TRP also installed, but will communicate with them so you’ll see profiles from them as well. Basically you have to pick one of the three of these.) that lets you make custom profiles for your characters, spot other RPers at a glance, change your character’s name and give yourself a last name and give people other information. Supports more cross-faction and cross-server functionality than the others (and is a little more experimental in that sense). It’s worth noting that all RP profile addons can be reported to and moderated by blizzard, so don’t put anything in them that would get you in trouble if you said it in /say! Elephant (by pb_ee1) - A super handy little addon that’s useful in many situations, but is particularly good for RPers. Simply logs the chat so that you can go back and read/copy/keep it for later. Can be filtered by chat. After you finish a scene you can easily go back into this addon and keep it for later, or look back to reference something that happened earlier in a scene that wouldn’t still be tracked by WoW’s normal chatlog UnlimitedChatMessage (by Cyprias) - If you find yourself hitting the 255 character limit in WoW’s chatbox often and are annoyed by putting ellipsis on the ends of your posts to continue typing, I highly recommend this little addon. All it does is let you type endlessly and then breaks it up into the acceptable 255 blocks for you and posts them all at once when you hit enter. HandyNotes (by Xinhuan) - probably less vital than the other addons, this is still one of my favorite addons. Lets you mark custom locations on the map. I use it constantly when I find neat little RP spots that I want to come back to so I can find them again. TinyPad (by Gello) - a helpful little addon that gives you an ingame notepad to make notes for yourself on ADDITIONAL RESOURCES Discord - is a free voice and text chat for gamers, a great deal of RPers use it pretty extensively. Below, I’ll list a few servers for RPers on Discord, please let me know if you know of more to add! TNRH Community Hub - The discord server for the TNRH RP Community Roleplayers Connect - A cross realm RP community Nobbel - Warcraft Lore server - discord for hardcore lore discussions Lore of Warcraft - WoW - another lore discussion discord for WoW Blood and Iron - Orc RP/Lore centric discord The Shal'dorei - Nightborne RP/Lore centric discord Silvermoon City - Bloodelf RP/Lore centric discord The Goblin Coliseum - Goblin RP/Lore centric discord The Bluffs - Tauren RP/Lore centric discord The Ebon Hold - Deathknight RP/Lore centric discord Official TNRH RP Ingame communities: Horde: https://www.worldofwarcraft.com/invite/D2lm9DnuOwz?region=US&faction=Horde Alliance: https://www.worldofwarcraft.com/invite/owrxLOVseKr?region=US&amp;faction=Alliance Other: https://rpfind.me/ - an RP website with some great features for finding friends and connections If you have any questions/need additional help please feel free to contact me (add me to your friends list/shoot me a mail or whisper), Arahe-Ravenholdt. My discord is Arahe#6448, feel free to add me! Or just add a comment on this post.
  43. 1 point
    ((The storyline is still wrapping up a few loose threads in Discord, but here's a post about The Grim losing their long-time guildhall in Brill as a result of it.)) By now, everyone has surely heard about the Battle of Lordaeron. The Alliance forces overtook the place, swarming through the ruins like rats scurrying through a tomb. The Warchief had no choice but to call for her Horde forces to retreat. When Baine sounded the retreat, the Commander of The Grim gave the order for his members to fall back to the Grim’s halls in Brill to defend their base there. They broke off from the rest of the Horde and headed for where the Gallow’s End Tavern once stood. The town was already in ruin, and the secret entrance to the Grim’s headquarters was exposed. After the Mandate’s followers were inside, the door was sealed with magic and stone. Some Alliance, namely the Twilight Empire, saw The Grim breaking off the main group of Horde and pursued. It did not take them long to break through the barriers at the entrance of the guildhall, and soon members bearing the colors of Twilight Empire clashed with those of The Grim just inside the entrance. Meanwhile, other Grim were deeper in the catacombs, retrieving documents and artifacts and other important items. Eventually, knowing they were outnumbered with all the Alliance outside, Awatu, the Grim Commander, gave the order for the Grim to abandon their guildhall of many years and find their way to safety. Most of the Grim exited the halls through portals, summons, and back exits. A few remained to stall the Alliance intruders for a few more precious moments, sacrificing themselves so the others could get out. Grim who spoke about the whole incident had varying emotions. Some were angry, some were indifferent. “It was… not unexpected, considering the result of the Ashenvale offensive,” Commander Awatu Stonespire of The Grim said. “While effective, the Warchief continues to make… questionable tactical decisions. As for the loss of the Halls, they are simply rooms and corridors. We can rebuild and rejoin the war effort. We lost a battle, but a war still needs to be fought.” Commander Stonespire has since called for the search of a suitable location for a new Grim guildhall. High Inquisitor Qabian Grimfire had a bit more than that to say on the subject. “Our guild hall was a stuffy, gloomy place that wasn’t worth spending any more time in than absolutely necessary, but it was useful enough with its history and its use as a gathering point that it was frequently absolutely necessary. Gathering points are easy enough to replace, but the history we built is gone. “Perhaps on some level it was inevitable that Stormwind would try to reclaim Lordaeron from the people who paid the price of their very lives to remain in their own homeland,” Qabian continued. “Humans have always been idiotic on the basest of levels, prone to taking things that don’t belong to them. However, I for one am convinced that they never would have had the courage to march through Tirisfal and ruin the lives we’d built if it weren’t for the things I’m hearing about the reappearance of a Menethil. “The individuals who chased us through and ransacked the place we had made ours, on the other hand,” Qabian went on some more, “I believe did so for deeply personal reasons, because they took offense to the various effects the Mandate had on their lives. That also has an edge of inevitability. The Mandate is not in the business of diplomacy or goodwill. We will always make the kind of enemies who would gladly end our lives with their own hands, and if they are given the opportunity to exploit any weaknesses we may suffer, as the Battle for Undercity provided them, they will never hesitate to strike. Never doubt that for a moment. Therein lies the importance of seeing the Mandate through to its ultimate goal. Should we fail, our survival, as individuals, as a collective, as nations, as the Horde itself, all of it is on the line.” Aureilya Raindawn, Keeper of Grim scrolls and documents, scowled when asked about it. “It matters not,” she said. “Let them have the blight infested land, it’s worthless to them anyway. It doesn’t matter to the Mandate what location we hold. The loss of the guildhall changes nothing. Our numbers continue to grow, even now. Let their blood soak the earth of whatever new location we procure.” A flash of rage passed through Gavril Nikolaev’s eyes when asked about it, but the Grim warlock quickly regained his composure. “We lost the guild hall. We lost the Undercity. I pray we recovered enough from our archives and vaults that the loss cuts none too deep. Sentimentality favors us not, but the fact of the matter is that we are at a severe tactical disadvantage. “We Forsaken are not well-loved by the other members of the Horde,” Gavril continued. “The loss of the Undercity is not something about which most orcs, trolls, Tauren or elves will think twice. The burning of Teldrassil, however … Will either galvanize the Alliance, or burn away at their faith … We need a new guild hall, or our enemies will chip away at us and eventually destroy us. We are nomads. Homeless. Exposed to the elements. This must needs be rectified before anything else.” “The battle was a mess,” commented Umbra Longheart, warrior of The Grim. “The Alliance caught us with our pants down, nobody suspected they would stoop to our level when they flattened Brill. It’s not the first battle I’ve been on the losing side of, though some could have saved themselves some grief by following Awatu’s orders clearly. In the heat of battle, a clear chain of command needs to be adhered to, even a bad plan can succeed with everyone working in lock step.” Umbra went on to add, “I never spent much time there as i never felt entirely… safe… I’ve done a bit of leg work finding some nice out of the way, forgotten by time locations throughout Lordaeron that would be suitable for modification, I’ve already handed the list off to Qabian though I’m sure he’s forgotten about it if he even had time to read it while beating the war drum.” Aquizit Shadesoul, Seeker of The Grim, did not seem too concerned when asked about the loss of the guildhall. “It’s a shame, solely for the fact of needing to find somewhere else to store and house the things and people who need it. I think, as a whole, it is insignificant. This organization does not suffer those who can’t take care of themselves, and the Mandate is enduring beyond paper, parchment, or records. It’s good to have a hall, for presence’s sake alone, to tell the world we exist, and that we endure. But for one individual hall? It’s just a symbol, not the heart.” Aderlee said “I tink de Grim fought well. We ‘ad very liddle casualties and we kept de Alliance away for a good while. De wards were strong but not strong enough. Dat was a weakness I ‘ad found last year at Khorvis’ request, but I don’t know if anyting was done ta make dem stronger. Da guild hall itself was fine, but it’s a loss dat we can replace. Losing Brill and Lordaeron exposed dat it was not in a strong position. We can do better. We got de important bits and artifacts and Grims out. Dat’s more important den stone and dirt.” Lord Pincus Dorian, longtime warlock of The Grim, gave only three words in comment: “Unfortunate, but necessary.” ====================================================================== Grim and TE.jpg (77.91 KiB) Viewed 2 times OOC~ Before the storyline kicked off, The Grim and Twilight Empire met to have some fun PVP skirmishes outside of Brill. This was The Grim’s last event on Twisting Nether/Ravenholdt servers. Thank you, Twilight Empire, for being a part of it!
  44. 1 point
    ((Open to all members of The Grim and Twilight Empire. Reply here or ask any member for an invite to the Discord server.)) During the events of the battle at Lordaeron..... The sounds of battle were a neverending background noise. The Grim fought alongside the Horde in the ruins as the Alliance pressed them back with soldiers and machinery. They heard Baine call for the retreat, and reluctantly fell back with the rest of the Horde. Much of the Horde scattered then, and The Grim grouped up among themselves. Brill was scorched by now, decimated by the attack. But The Grim's guildhall was mostly underground. Breaking off from the main force, those in the familiar black and red tabards headed toward Brill. August 12, 2018 KatelleLast Sunday at 4:21 PM The stench of blood and death hung heavy in the air, but still the Alliance pressed on. Ragged cheers went up at Baine's call for retreat. The Empire stood with the Alliance, blue and gold tabards covered in gore but nonetheless brilliant in spirit, her forces rallied by the shouts of one of her warriors. They pressed forward with the other forces, both soldiers and adventurers alike, even as the Horde turned tail and retreated. ZakarnasLast Sunday at 4:21 PM As the Horde began to flee, Zakarnas stopped and stood still to breathe for what felt like the first time. He lowered his daggers and let his shoulders drop with his exhalation. Amber eyes scanned the ruins, analyzing comrade and foe alike. Out of the corner of his field of vision, he noticed a fairly large group routed away from the primary Horde army. Was that...? He was certain that it was. He stepped back a few feet and gently nudged Katelle with his elbow. He subtly inclined his head towards the group of The Grim. MyakaLast Sunday at 7:06 PM Myaka let out a roaring cheer as the horde began to retreat. Her draenic sword was painted in a black mixure of blood and ichor. The purple Shadowflame of the Twilight Scales glowed in the flickering soot and ashes. She raised the shield aloft for a moment and it disappeared in a flash of fire. She took the pause to catch her breath a moment. LeslieLast Sunday at 7:20 PM Leslie finds it difficult to restrain herself when the elf she's fighting turns tail to dash away at the sound of the retreat, but she does. Mya's cheer from nearby brings her out of the moment. With her broadsword still held up in guard, she moves towards the others with a careful eye on the horde falling back. QabianLast Sunday at 7:21 PM Qabian followed close behind the other Grim. He was not naturally a leader and always gravitated toward the back of the pack. In combat, he was at best a decently thoughtful contributor to controlled chaos. At worst, he was a deserter, never in terms of abandoning the fight, but with a taste for indiscriminate harm and property damage that was unlikely to be particularly helpful to anyone on any side. The longer the battle went on, the more he felt inclined to the latter, and he did not like being ordered to retreat. Vindicator JaelantiaLast Sunday at 7:31 PM Jaelantia watched the routed forces of the Horde pulling away, clutching her warhammer as adrenaline still ran through her body. She sighed, and let her muscles slowly relax as she focused her attention instead on tending to the wounded - before some new surprise could appear. UmbralheartLast Sunday at 8:03 PM The call for retreat rang out in her dense skull, the sound of the order hurt her ears worse than fingernails being pulled from her hands. Umbral has seen what happens to people slow to retreat, her days as a youth watching South Shore and Tarren Mill flop back and fourth endlessly were not for loss. Through the chaos and broken ranks Umbral sped through the mayhem, dancing over the dead and leaping off those too slow to keep up, eventually making her way back to the pack of Grim she had gotten seperated from. With her shield ready and her fel green elf eyes scanning in all directions Umbral did what she hated most, retreated.(edited) Arthelle SunstrikeLast Sunday at 8:26 PM As the cheers rang out, the Void Elf relaxed. Fire still burned at her fingertips, but it quickly faded into smoke, and then nothing. Breathing heavily, she lifted a glove up to her lips and coughed twice. "Not the best of signs," murmured Arthelle to herself before putting her back to a pillar and sliding down until she was seated while clutching her sides. "Yep. Definitely made it worse with the blight and, uh, activity." KatelleLast Sunday at 8:40 PM The Imperial General turned to her Colonel at the nudge, following his gaze. Icy eyes, just visible through the visor slit in her molded leather helm, narrowed at the sight of red and black tabards on the move. She growls a wordless oath and vanishes from sight, trusting her second to follow suit. Her voice rang out over the Imperial guildstone, then, unheard by all except those who carried their own: "Empire! Grim spotted moving away from Horde forces! I want them mowed down!" MyakaLast Sunday at 8:41 PM Myaka turns at Kate's call, seeing the Grim retreating. A wide half mad grin splits her face and she starts moving, her run turning into a blistering run of a charge as battlerage roared through her. "Understood General, I'm on my way." LeslieLast Sunday at 8:43 PM Leslie turns the instant she hears the command and follows right after Myaka as she passes. Arthelle SunstrikeLast Sunday at 8:45 PM Upon hearing Kate call for some heads, Arthelle grinned through the pain. She forced herself off her rear and onto her feet once more, only to cast a quick molten barrier around herself. Walking at a brisk pace while holding her stomach, she prepared another fire spell in her right hand. "Well, this is a rare day indeed." AwatuLast Sunday at 11:02 PM The appearance of Jaina Proudmoore had certainly shifted the favor of battle out of the Horde's hands. Why the Warchief had not issued flanking positions or improved magical defenses was beyond Awatu. But, no time for such thoughts now. Brill was utterly destroyed, and the first layer of defenses for the Halls had been broken. Immediate defense of the catacombs was necessary, regardless of the Horde's grasp on Lordaeron. If wisdom is applied to battle tactics, the troops can remain in Undercity for months while under siege. The Commander rushed across the edge of the battlefield, a cadre of Grim behind him following his orders to fall back to the Halls. He retrieved a hearthstone from a pouch and spoke into it, speaking an order to all Grim. "All Grim, both in the field and in battle, must fall back to the Halls underneath the Gallow's End Tavern. Brill is no more and defense of the Halls is of the utmost priority. All must follow this order, no exceptions." An unspoken thought goes through his mind. "Should I see any who fail to follow this order... they will be made examples of... most harshly..." IvanLast Sunday at 11:33 PM Sky Captain Ivan Starlance, shining son of the Alliance, righteous Knight of the Silver Hand, esteemed heir of General Josef Starlance, and hero, of course, rides atop his armoured warhose Justice through the fray of battle. He could barely hear Lady Larmont's call to arms over the clash of steel, but he knows the order she rallies against. The Grim, one of the most heinous blights following the orders of the Banshee Queen. He knows them well enough through reputation to judge their destruction here more than necessary. "For the Light! For the Alliance!" He lifts his warhammer to the sky so that it may be ignited with the vindicating flames of the Light and charges towards the retreating black and red tabards. August 13, 2018 AderleeLast Monday at 1:36 AM The commander’s words were clear in Aderlee’s head, … defense of the Halls is of the utmost priority. Well that wasn’t Aderlee’s priority, his was to ensure the full and complete destruction of his laboratory lest it fall in the hands of the Alliance. With the sudden appearance of the Alliance and the need to defend Undercity left Aderlee little time to arm his demolition charges. He would have liked to double and triple check his work, but there was no time. His explosives rarely malfunctioned, but he would not be satisfied unless he activated the charges manually or saw them detonate from a distance and hopefully destroy Alliance soldiers in the process. No, all Grim are needed to defend the Halls and Aderlee would follow his family and defend the Halls. The laboratory was located within eyeshot of Brill and the entrance to the Halls, if happenchance allowed he would complete his demolition. For the retreat, Aderlee ran among the rear of the pack waving his staff from side to side and occasionally hopping from one foot every few steps. His magic would reinvigorate any tired Grim and urge them to retreat with greater haste. Vindicator JaelantiaLast Monday at 10:13 AM Jaelantia silently stood, eyes scanning the crowd for the familiar tabard of the Empire. Once she'd caught a glimpse of the twin lions, she swiftly made her way in their direction. Her hooves clattered against stone as her pace quickened and her grip tightened around her warhammer. There was more to be done. SyreennaLast Monday at 11:09 AM After hearing Awatu's orders, Syreena finishes off an Alliance soldier she was engaged with, and turns to retreat to the guild hall. Her glowing yellow gaze sweeps the field near her on her way, waving at any other Grim she sees to follow her. Jinka, an orc hunter, moves with the little rogue, a red wolf running at her side. GavrilLast Monday at 12:18 PM As he hears Awatu's command for retreat, Gavril casually looks on as his felhound tears out the throat of a fallen Alliance soldier, finishing them off. The death knight Kvetoslava similarly executes a night elven archer on their knees. Both Forsaken narrow their eyes, catching Syreena running by, and similarly follow suit. Gavril was loathe to retreat, but fully understand the tactical necessity -- the Alliance had the advantage in the open field. They would be hard pressed to assault the Halls. Gavril pats his belt down to check his few remaining canisters of Blight, regrouping with the rest of the Grim. KatelleLast Monday at 2:24 PM Katelle trusted her Imperials to move without physically needing her to lead them. She stayed in the shadows, adrenaline lending a sprinting speed to her limbs that almost enabled her to keep up with Myaka's surging charge. Even still, the Grim had the advantage of distance by the time she had given the call. Would they be fast enough to catch their red-black prey? "Follow them!" Katelle commanded, voice like steel across the guildstone but unheard in physical space. "Whatever you do, don't let them disappear from view!"(edited) LeslieLast Monday at 2:36 PM Leslie needs no more prodding into chasing after the fleeing Horde as quickly as she can, so the beast charges forward after them without another word or thought. If nothing else, she will use her speed as an advantage to keep eyes on them. MyakaLast Monday at 2:45 PM Myaka also keeps up her fast pace, letting battlerage fuel her. She avoids things in the way by making large leaps over downed branches and debris. Vindicator JaelantiaLast Monday at 3:37 PM The paladin's stoic march towards the fleeing horde stopped. Instead, Jaelantia broke into a determined run, sprinting after her quarry with her hammer held low and ready for the first swing. Her plate clattered heavily with each stomp of her hooves, and she bore down in the direction of the red-and-black, advancing like a furious elekk. Her eyes, bright and golden, were fixed forward in a dutiful stare. She would not lose them. Her purpose was to crush them all. UmbralheartLast Monday at 4:01 PM Umbral took a quick look through the fog of war and made sure every Grim within view was close enough to protect should the need arise. In the spur of the moment as the crowd of Grim neared their rally point Umbral sees an alliance soldier, bleeding to death trying to keep his insides from becoming outsides and using a polearm as a cane to limp to safety, she takes a skip with one step then a hop with another landing on the limping soldier like a child jumping into a puddle sending a shower of viscera out in all directions from her impact crater. She steadies herself with the polearm stuck in the ground the soldier was trying to pull himself along with and decides to take it hoping to gain an advantage in the corridors of the guildhall if the fighting makes its way in there. As the red tide settles around her an insane laughter echoes out from under her helmet. "Fitting the Empire chooses to fight today or all days!"(edited) QabianLast Monday at 4:04 PM Qabian pauses and turns, a couple other nameless Grim knocking past his shoulder as they run. He lifts his hand, two fingers up and gestures at the husk of a ruined siege engine some distance behind them. Its already smoldering form bursts into fresh flames as he stands and raises his other arm to match it. The spellwork seems useless on first glance, then a meteor forms out of the sky, and crashes into the pile of charred and broken beams at a low angle, scattering flames and debris in a blazing river of fire across a good portion of the path they had already covered. The blood elf purses his lips, satisfied with his work, then blinks back into line with the company, keeping pace just ahead of Aderlee. If you're going to be bringing up the rear, better to know where the nearest healer is. Vindicator JaelantiaLast Monday at 4:11 PM Jaelantia's singular objective was not changed by the sudden explosion of a seige engine. From out of the flame and splintering debris, she emerged, barely losing a stride. Though the holy protection of the Light wreathed her entire form, the flames still licked at her and surrounded her body bas she passed through, making her seem briefly akin to a fireball barreling towards them. When she was finally free of the fire, her silhouette against the wall of flame was only illuminated by the intense glow of her eyes, glaring furiously from beneath her helm. MyakaLast Monday at 4:23 PM Myaka also doesn't break her stride, taking a running leap through the flames. Fire licks at her enchanted armor but the warrior seems to just ignore it as she continues towards the grim. KatelleLast Monday at 4:42 PM An otherworldly, animalistic shriek could be heard through the clamor of combat. Charging through the masses of soldiers enemy and friend alike, a skeletal warhorse--glowing with the violet energies of the Twisting Nether--broke through the raging fire as it sped ahead of the Imperials. Its rider, a cowled woman whose robes glowed smoke-like wisps of Fel and Nether alike, didn't allow her mount to charge too far ahead. She slowed just as she came in range to shout foul curses in Eredun at whichever Grim targets were near her, voice echoing like a banshee screech as her agonies and afflictions sped through the air. Would they hit? QabianLast Monday at 5:19 PM At least one of the dark streaks of violet-black the fel woman threw slammed across Qabian's right side, the force of the spell enough to send him tumbling head over heels, but running was a skill Qabian had practiced a great deal, and he rolled with the strike. With another shimmering blink across the field, he was on his feet with more people between him and the direction the spell had come from. A bubble of translucent defensive magic popped into place as well. The blood elf looked down and saw slick shadow wrapping around his elbow, crawling up and down his arm menacingly. He hissed between his teeth, and brought his hand to his pauldron, unstrapping it as he ran and letting it fall, the distraction causing him to stumble over debris. With his opposite hand at his shoulder and the sound of a couple clicks, the prosthesis disengaged and he tugged his tightly bandaged arm out of its sleeve completely. He looked around, desperation rising behind his eyes. He needed to get out of the open. AwatuLast Monday at 5:30 PM The ruins of Brill came into view, and the pile of rubble that was once the Gallow's End Tavern smoldered much like the rest of the pitiful town. Holding his shield high, a few spells struck the barrier and were deflected away by Awatu's own divine magics. A quick glance around the battlefield showed what he had feared: the Horde was being routed and no reinforcements would be able to reclaim Brill or Tirisfal Glades. Furthermore, a contingent of Alliance were following them, and more would soon come. The Alliance forces had all the time necessary to set up their siege, and it would be only a matter of time before the main entrance of the guild hall was surrounded. The second layer of wards were holding, for now, but only enough to buy time before soldiers could rush the garrison. He stood near the pile of rubble, turned, and planted himself between the entrance and any oncoming attackers. A quick spell snap, and a banner bearing the cloaked skull and twin daggers of The Grim was planted into the ground. There was no hiding it anymore. Any Alliance seeking to get close to the entrance would have to deal with over one ton of furious Tauren. Another order rang out over the hearhtstone. "Defensive posititions! Rally to me! Those who can clear the rubble, do so. We need to gain entry to the Halls." AureilyaLast Monday at 5:39 PM Aureilya's voice came over the hearthstone. "I have barricaded and secured our archives and will be sending them through a portal to a safe location. I will hold the Library for as long as I can and will self evacuate by portal. Qabian, can you arrange for an emergency portal for the rest of you should it become necessary?" QabianLast Monday at 5:55 PM Qabian slid behind a wall of stones that might have once been a building's foundation near Awatu, scattering dirt as he half-sat, half-crouched. He tried to work magic into the false arm as he tossed it onto the ground in front of him, but not having the second hand available for the gestures made it more difficult than it needed to be. The bandages slowly melted away under the effects of the shadowy spell as it dissolved whatever it touched, leaving behind a silver filigree arm-shaped empty mesh that the mage cursed at as he tried to apply fire. "What? Yes, of course! What do you think--" He shouted, then bit his tongue, cutting short his too-loud curt response to the call on the hearthstone as he turned his attention back to trying to cleanse his fake arm.(edited) DuhallenLast Monday at 6:20 PM The Elf was old, it was tall, upon first glance people would figure it to be a nightborn. He was prideful and the affliction he helped level on the lands of Lorderon were attrocious. Sure he had a body guard but as his hand extended. plants died quickly blackened by the influence and might. The alliance soldiers fell to their knees afflicted with the Blight. And when the Bainesidhe queen threw out the blight it just worsened with his very presence there. He wore the colors of the Grim. But every inch of Skin seemed to be covered with the Red and black mix. If one got close to hime they might even see that his very uniform is alive and absorbing magical shots. Hearing the retreat he repeats it to other Horde and Grim members. He knew he needed more to bring to the fore. He was one of the first to retreat, not war minded more tactitian minded. Duhallen slipped back to the choke point getting his demon to cover him. He wasn't really a runner when the Banshee scream came towards them he let out a dark chuckle, speaking in demonic he seemed to slip through the twisting nether the attack passing harmlessly as he ended up past the lines. He focused putting a shield up sliding further back from the ranks as he started to etch on the ground. A portal to bring reinforcements. Murmuring in demonic a purple blighted swirl came across the ground. The portal opened with many shark like teeth. And the tongue came out like it would swallow those that went through it. Then the tongue straightened like a set of stairs.(edited) Vindicator JaelantiaLast Monday at 6:38 PM Making her way across the burning scar through Tirisfal Glades, the draenei finally caught a glimpse of what little remained of Brill. Surely, she thought, that was where her quarry was headed. She grit her teeth and pressed on into the ruins of the town in pursuit, embers still glowing at the edges of her tabard, the symbol of the Hand still visible through a layer of blood and ash and ichor. GavrilLast Monday at 7:50 PM Gavril glances back just in time to see Qabian hit by the Alliance warlock's afflictions, and turns to face her and the Vindicator. Snarling as only a jawless corpse can, the warlock thrusts his skeletal hands violently towards the two oncoming alliance. A violet nova of shadow energy blasts between them -- a Shadowfury meant to stun and slow their advance, giving the other Grim more time to take cover.(edited) Vindicator JaelantiaLast Monday at 8:18 PM Jaelantia felt the brunt force of the warlock's magic strike her. In an instant, the edges of her vision began to blur and she felt every inch of her body throbbing with pain. Her every step felt like a slog through thick mud, her joints screaming at her to stop. Though slowed to an agonized walk, she refused to cease, and pushed her way through the misery of the Shadowfury. Her off-hand clenched and unclenched a few times before pushing through the same blinding pain as the rest of her to lay her palm upon her breast. With a silent prayer, the Light coursed through the draenei's body, and the affliction of the warlock's magic began to abate. After a few seconds, her attention turned towards the direction she had seen Gavril a moment earlier as her eyes returned to focus. Her grip tightening on her hammer, she finally resumed her determined charge. UmbralheartLast Monday at 8:41 PM Through the fire and the chaos Umbral sees Gavril about to unintentionally become several pieces of little Gavril's. With a well trained sprint and little thought for her own safety Umbral's shield and body fall into line obscuring Gavril from view behind its blood splattered bronze finish. She let's out a mighty roar (for an elf) determined to deflect spell, arrow, or hammer while moving backwards forcing the dedder warlock to retreat under her cover. KatelleLast Monday at 9:10 PM Both warlock and her demonic mount were caught by the full brunt of the Shadowfury alongside Jaelantia, though Ketani had not the physical fortitude to slog through it. Beneath her hood, molten-copper eyes squeezed shut against the blinding disorientation caused by so familiar a magic and spell. She clung to her otherworldly steed as her own world spun in pain, an eternity jamming through the few seconds of the nova's duration. Finally, everything righted itself. Ketani straightened, taking a breath to steady herself even as she snapped her steed forward. "Keep an eye on that warlock's portal," she called across the guildstone, eyeing the toothy maw even as she galloped past it.(edited) MyakaLast Monday at 9:11 PM Myaka sees the shadowfury and tries to move to block it, though is to slow to stop it from both Jael or the mysterious warlock. She doesn't know who the new person is, but they are fighting the grim, so they must be good. She charges to intercept Umbral knowing this will start to get her into the grim forces. Vindicator JaelantiaLast Monday at 9:17 PM Seeing Umbral's approach to intervene, and surprised by her speed, Jaelantia changed tactics. As she got in closer, her hammer ready to swing, she began to shimmer, an aura of Light shining around her whole being. The sight of it soon became dazzling and blinding, like staring into the face of the sun. The warrior charging ahead may find that the Light, though visibly bright, would not sting her eyes nearly so much as those of the elf and - should that shield fall - the warlock ahead of her.(edited) UmbralheartLast Monday at 10:10 PM Umbral seethed with anger, blinded by the radiance she staggered back a few steps, shield held with a strong grip but not ready to deflect a direct strike should it find her. After shaking her head, all she could do was hope she was still backing up while she waited for her vision to return and hope her bloody shield, polearm gripped in the middle of it's haft, and muscular elf frame was enough to block the way and buy Gavril a moment of respite if not a window to react. MyakaLast Monday at 10:22 PM Myaka finishes her charge seeing Umbral and Gavril slowed down. She moves to strike at Umbral first while she's disoriented, purple draenic sword cleaving towards her and shadowflame rolling from her shield. AderleeLast Monday at 10:27 PM As the violet-black fel slammed into Qabian, Aderlee ducked beneath another as he continued his retreat. He stutter stepped so he wouldn’t run into the back of Qabian and continued to run. Aderlee reached out with his magic to mend Qabian’s wounds, but couldn’t seem to find any. When Qabian disengaged his prosthetics, Aderlee let loose a loud cackle then spoke between breaths , “Ju learn someting new every day Q, hehe.” Aderlee was thankful for Gavril and Umbral buying them time as the Alliance soldiers converged on them rather than Aderlee and the rear troops. As Aderlee caught up to and passed Umbral and Gavril, he paused to yank a metal fetish off of his robe and throw it at the incoming Alliance with his free hand. He tried to throw it at Myaka as she was charging first, but his aim was off and the fetish sailed over her head as she closed the gap. The fragmentation grenade disguised as a fetish exploded a moment after hitting the ground, sending sharp metallic fragmentation in every direction. Aderlee hoped the grenade would cause the incoming soldiers to pause rather than risk running into another explosion, then turned and continued his retreat towards Awatu. Vindicator JaelantiaLast Monday at 10:35 PM Jaelantia stopped her advance short as the suspicious object bounced off the ground, then braced herself as it exploded. She exhaled sharply through her teeth as bits of shrapnel pelted her armor, some burying themselves deep enough to cause pain. She didn't wait for the pain to subside, hoping the effect of the sunburst of her aura of Light would give her enough time to close in even after the explosion. Dust and smoke still in the air, she lunged forward, swinging her hammer in a wide arc with both arms - hoping the elf was still where she'd been a moment ago. UmbralheartLast Monday at 11:42 PM Umbral's vision comes back into focus as the sharp slice of Myaka's purple draenic sword glances off her shield and finds flesh on her bicep. She lets out a howl in response to the pain that focuses her senses as her rage peaks ever higher. Rather than deflect with her shield, Umbral attempts to deliver the slab of gore covered metal straight to the face of the charging paladin in an effort to deliver a humiliating blow what would leave the crusader covered in someone elses blood and hopefully slow her dance of death to a mere two step of torture. Opting for offensive humiliation comes not without consequence as the hammer of the crusader strikes Umbral in one of the few places on her body not clad in armor, somehow Umbral has managed to take a large hammer blow to the buttock as she positioned to crash into the paladin coming at her... Syreena could NOT find out about this though the bruise would likely stick around for months... if Umbral survived at all. DuhallenLast Monday at 11:43 PM *The portal was up Duhalken felt the protection of the elf he blocked to portal so the alliance would not blast the reinforcements coming. The red river elf then started chanting and lifting his hands purple black ooze came forth with a feel akin to the scourge. * GavrilLast Monday at 11:51 PM Unfortunately, Umbral is neither large nor well-dressed enough to shield the warlock from the paladin's blast of Light. Gavril collapses to one knee, the Light rendering him temporarily blind, searing his undead flesh and sending white-hot pain throughout his body. He extends a free claw towards the Alliance as they engage Umbral, wildly sending curses of Agony and Corruption, praying to the Dark Lady that -- between his spells and Aderlee's grenade -- Umbral is able to hold off the two of them. August 14, 2018 QabianYesterday at 12:09 AM Qabian tossed Aderlee a smirk. The blood elf managed to get his magic working enough to burn away the shadows surrounding the false arm, leaving the silver filigree glowing molten. He burned away the rest of the empty sleeve as well. There just wasn't any time to try and put everything back together. Apparently undeterred by the red hot metal where he grabbed the arm, he snapped the limb back onto the corresponding silver cap on his now bared stump of a shoulder, and there was a flash of white-purple light as trails of floating runes surrounded the arm then dissipated. The metal arm shape was empty at its center, a twisting band of arcane white light through its core apparently what drove its function. He flexed his hands, one still gloved, the other one clearly artificial but moving as though it were entirely natural. He clapped them together once, then hopped over the wall to take a place behind Awatu, alongside the banner, playing defense as ordered. MyakaYesterday at 12:11 AM Myaka snarled lowly, and moved to block umbrals strike with her shield before stabbing her blade towards the other warrior. Vindicator JaelantiaYesterday at 12:16 AM Jaelantia barely escapes taking Umbral's shield to the face as her hammer strike brings her in range. She shoots Myaka a grateful look from beneath the visor of her helm once she recovers after the follow-through of her swing, and is suddenly wrought with an incredible agony. Her flesh begins to blister and steam as the Curse of Agony takes hold, and her gaze snaps to Gavril. She extends a gauntlet covered palm to the warlock as her flesh sizzles and her teeth grind. "I have come to destroy you," she says plainly, before forcing the Light to flow through her agonized fingertips,. She struggled against the pain as she loosed a shocking burst of holy magic, seeking to sear the kneeling undead.(edited) PincusYesterday at 12:17 AM The portal undulates and contorts oddly, seemingly unwilling to let whatever coming through pass. Out from the inky black hole steps a rather large Forsaken, nearly 6 feet tall, and besides him his large felhound. He is dressed in purple, skulls on his shoulders, and face hidden in the cowl with nothing but red eyes peering out. The figure points in the general direction of the melee, and the fel runs off to do his master's bidding. The figure eyes the battlefield, and let's out a sharp whistle. The felhunter runs back to his side. The Forsaken raises his hand, clenches a fist, and flings it downward in a sharp motion. A meteoric rock hurls forth from the Nether, and blossoms into a giant Infernal in the middle of the scrum. GavrilYesterday at 12:46 AM The bolt of Light strikes Gavril square in the chest, sending him sprawling on his back, heavy silken and velvet robes crumpled around him, steam rising from a gaping hole in his chest as a spectral howl escapes his throat. Then, the Infernal falls. Somewhat regaining his composure, the Forsaken retorts in stilted Common, "You must needs destroy that one, first." And then to Umbral, "Warbringer! To the Commander!" Using the ensuing chaos to his advantage, Gavril forces himself to his feet, claw to the wound in his chest, scrambling back towards Awatu and the cover of the ruins of Brill. Le'saraYesterday at 12:51 AM A blast of fire shoots through Duhallen's portal, and out steps Le'sara Sunspear, wreathed in a shroud of flame. "Time to burn some wretched Alliance mongrel bastards!" UmbralheartYesterday at 1:04 AM Umbral impacts her shield with Myaka's and recoils with a cackling twisted glee as the human shield sends Umbral back a step. Umbral takes another strong stomp and her sabaton slams into the ground with enough impact to make those around take note as well as kick up more blood shed from the fallen victims near by hoping to at least create enough horror and outrage to buy enough time for Gavril to escape unmolested by the light. As her foot meets the viscera covered mud and blood flies into the air, her shield falls into place in front of her and with unwavering strength and renewed resilience she quickly regains her balance and back pedals towards Awatu almost as fast as Gavril can run forward. In the months since Umbral pledged herself to the Mandate, she's become strong with the Grim at her back, and resilient standing behind the Grim. DuhallenYesterday at 2:16 AM *The chanting stopped from behind away. A cold wind came forth as the warlock reached a bit too much. He used to not need to breath. He clutched his chest as he summoned the scourge magics no longer infused with relish kings power in full. The cold wind of the north swept across the battlefield and a sickness settled into the blighted soil. The dead that lay on the battlefield start to come alive. They look like they have no light to their eyes and only hunger for flesh. The more alive the better. Duhallen wheezed for breath as life and death conflicted in him. Distracted for long moments after the spell was complete. *(edited) SyreennaYesterday at 10:03 AM Syreenna appears from the shadows at Awatu’s side, surveying the oncoming Alliance and those ho were already engaged in battle with Grim. She recognized a few, and she recognized their tabard. “Twilight Empire. Old friends of mine,” she says to Awatu with a wicked grin. Drawing her swords, she heads into the skirmish, fading into the shadows once more. MyakaYesterday at 10:10 AM Myaka is used to those slamming foot stomps, she does something similar to off foot people as well on occasion. The viscera kicked into the air doesn't seem to unnerve her, neither does the raised bodies. Instead, fury and rage grows, the flames on the shield whip into a frenzy that she sends towards Umbral in a plume of shadowflame. Followed soon after is quick sword stabs and strikes. AderleeYesterday at 12:09 PM Finally reaching Awatu, Aderlee took a moment to catch his breath while muttering “Ah’m gettin’ too old fa’ lotsa runnin’ like dat.” He turned and saw Gavril was clutching his chest, so Aderlee planted his staff in the ground and reached out with the shadows to mend his wounds. Aderlee disliked healing forsaken, their dead bodies left him no way to heal with his preferred method. As each forsaken may have died differently, Aderlee could never be sure if an arm was gone permanently, or maybe that hole was always in that chest. He wasn’t as proficient with the shadows compared to blood magic either. A shadow then swirled around Aderlee’s fingertips as he willed Gavril’s chest wound to heal as much as he could. Finished with that, he watched the infernal crash to the ground in the center of the battle. Dis buys me a moment. Aderlee reached into his front pouch and pulled out a bulb-shaped glass containing a dark blue fluid with bright purple swirls mixing about. He pulled the stopper out with his teeth and downed the entire glass in one gulp. Aderlee’s eyes screwed shut and his expression was filled with disgust, then his entire body shook lightly and his eyes opened to reveal dark and dilated pupils. The glass fell from his hand and shattered in the rubble while Aderlee clapped his hands together once and loudly. An unseen and unfelt wind seemed to sweep over Aderlee and buffeted about his robes while all the trinkets, rings and bells on his robes jingled together not unlike when a strong gust would jingle a wind chime but the sound was much uglier and out of tune. Doped and ready for battle again, Aderlee wrenched his staff from the ground and stood ready. LeslieYesterday at 12:50 PM Leslie stops just short of the impact of the infernal, making a dash to the side and sliding through the ruined ground on all fours. The worgen glances around swiftly to note where everyone is in relation to the great amalgamation, but she doesn’t need long to see that the burning construct running amok on the battlefield could only end in ruin for the Imperials. The runes on her sword flare just before she pulls it from her back and chucks it at the creature like a javelin. As she fortifies herself with runed magic flaring and her greatsword in hand, she attempts to command its attention onto herself with the hope of distracting it until it can be brought down. If nothing else, she will try to keep it engaged to buy the Alliance more time. UmbralheartYesterday at 5:30 PM Umbral's shieldwork was impeccable in this moment, Myaka pressed the attack only to be futilely swatted away by a series of precise and practiced motions from her massive slab of a shield. As she backed away from her attackers, dancing over the dead and dodging the souls of the damned joining the fray she can't help but smile more with every futile blow swatted away. Every thud from every blow deflected by her shield serving only as accompaniment music for her chorus line of cackling. After a few more moments spent backing up and suffering through whatever fresh hell Myaka's flaming shield could produce Umbral yelled out in orcish "If Gavril is safe then get my bruised ass out of here!" Le'saraYesterday at 6:45 PM Le'sara saw Umbral under assault and was quick. She blinked forward, getting up close to the Alliance attacker. She grinned at Myaka and gave a very venemous "Hello, swine." Which she followed up by placing her hand in front of Myaka's face and attempting to blast it with fire. Vindicator JaelantiaYesterday at 6:47 PM "This demon stands between them and retribution!" Jaelantia bellowed over the din of the fighting. Her skin had finally stopped its itching and burning and was now down to a dull ache thanks to her own Light healing -- and now she was prepared for another engagement. She glowered up at the Infernal, the flickering felflame illuminating the bloodied Hand emblem upon her chest. "Remove it!" She lunged forward, dust and debris kicking up from her hooves. Carrying that momentium into attack, she put her weight into a swing to strike the great fel construct, Light shimmering around the head of the great hammer.(edited) MyakaYesterday at 6:51 PM Myaka just snarls back at Le'sara and raises her dragonscale shield. The purple scales pulse with twilight energies and any magical or fel attack would be hard pressed to get past it's heavy resistance. Shadowflame roars from it's center, looking to pay the mage back with flames of it's own. DuhallenYesterday at 7:04 PM Duhallen ducked behind the large Tauren. he pulled up his mask a bit to get air. He almost felt his life force ripped from him. His eyes narrowing he slipped his helmet back on Pulling from the nether from health stones he infused one in his form. Standing behind Awatu looking at the field. He slid up his staff at it seemed to writhe with the infernal magics.. Etching a marking in the air then slamming the Staff on the ground a casing of a portal appeared near Umbral and near where she could jump up to be by Awatu. The portal would be a deathtrap to anyone but Grim. KatelleYesterday at 7:05 PM Ketani reared her mount up before colliding with the Infernal. Her first instinct was to attempt to enslave or even banish the construct, but seeing Jaelentia in the throng of holy wrath changed her mind. Instead, she lifted her hands away from the reigns and began chanting in eredun. Gloved hands glowed with felfire as she attempted to wrest control of the flames binding the Internal together. PincusYesterday at 7:24 PM The Forsaken watched the wrath his creation had brought. "Less of a force and more of a diversion", he thought. With a quick wave of his hands and a whisper of Gutterspeak, he begins to spread his version of pestilence and agony to the Alliance below. Then, with a quick snap of his fingers, his felsteed appears from the Nether, and he makes a quick getaway to the rearward position. Vindicator JaelantiaYesterday at 7:42 PM Feeling the prickling of her skin signalling the beginning of another slew of curses, Jaelantia quickly withdrew a few steps from the Infernal to utter a very brief prayer and cleanse herself with the Light. She sighed with relief as she began to purge the ailment from her body. Before returning to the fight, she glanced over at Ketani and Myaka to see if they were similarly afflicted.(edited) UmbralheartYesterday at 7:51 PM Umbral hops back through Duhallen's portal having little faith the Grim Warlock was acting in her best interest but was pleasantly surprised to be by Awatu and suddenly safe for now. She hoped Gavril and Le'sara had the common sense to retreat to safety as well before being overwhelmed by a gold and blue tide that was over taking Tirisfal. After having taken just long enough to gain her bearings she takes up a defensive posture near Awatu, swatting away the occasional mindless undead as she stays vigilant.(edited) AwatuYesterday at 8:44 PM The Alliance continued their pursuit, and Awatu was backed into a corner. The rubble itself had been cleared enough for individuals to enter the guild hall, but it still left an opening for Alliance to eventually make their way inside. As Awatu deflected arrows and spells with his shield, he looked up towards the hills in the direction of Undercity. There, siege engines could be seen, slowly making their way back to Brill. Along with with several contingents of soldiers. A relatively small group of Grim would not be able to hold off a direct assault from a military force being spearheaded by the Twilight Empire. It was only a matter of time before they were overrun. The order had gone out to fall back to the guild hall. Awatu kept his shield high and deflected as much as he could, granting cover to anyone seeking entrance. He raised a hoof into the air and stomped the earth. Fiery light emanated from the ground, creating a hazard for any approaching melee combatants. The terrain would hold, but not for long. GavrilYesterday at 9:39 PM Shadows mend the gaping hole in Gavril's chest, from Aderlee's spell, and the warlock is visibly relieved and reinvigorated, though his flesh still shows the worse for wear. He nods a quick thanks to the priest as he reaches the entrance to the guild hall, and the relative safety of Brill's ruins. Standing near the bulwark of Awatu and Umbral, instead of immediately heading through the entrance, he turns to face the oncoming Alliance, fixating his vengeful gaze on the Vindicator. Tracing symbols in the air and chanting in Eredun, he thrusts his palm forward and launches a Seed wreathed in green and black Corruption, heading straight towards the paladin. Vindicator JaelantiaYesterday at 11:04 PM Jaelantia's eyes turned upwards towards the Infernal - and beyond it, to the oncoming spell. As it travelled quickly through the air, the paladin was illuminated in a shimmer of blue. This was the third affliction volleyed her way since arriving, now, and she was growing quite ready for them. As the Light's protective blessing surrounded her, she began shimmering as she had earlier when she was protected with a divine shield. Now, though the Corruption could find a home in the holy vessel of the paladin's body, she would at least be able to endure for a little longer without a surprise knife in the side to go with her agony. Staring down the incoming spell, she drew back one arm, and then thrust it forward in a furious pitching motion. As her fingers cut through the air, the Light began to collect between her fingertips, finally manifesting into the shape of a stone hammer. It flew forth at the end of her throw, and she observed its course - straight into the warlock's direction - as she followed through.(edited) August 15, 2018 MyakaToday at 8:45 AM Myaka would keep pushing forward towards the bulk of the Grim, the warrior being hit by the agony and affliction curses but her pain resistance keeping her upright and moving, albeit a bit slower than before. Her singular purpose is on the Tauren who seems to be the leader, and she seems to be attempting to get to him. PincusToday at 8:50 AM Pincus made it back behind the defensive line, leaping over the line. The felsteed disappeared in midair, and the Forsaken fell rather unelegantly to the ground. Getting himself up and dusting himself off, a familiar voice piped up. "Hey boss, it's all on fire, yo. Doc Rock is also smashing up your joint. Richard is keepin' an eye on the payload,you waiting for your word. Whadda need me to do?" "Shut up and go away," Pincus replied. "This is now a job for Krathoon." The Forsaken begins to muttered, sending Pizloz back to the nether. As his summoning completes, a felguard stands where the imp was moments before. Pincus turns to the demon, points to the battlefield, and says "Hit one of them. Hard. Until either they are dead or you are." DuhallenToday at 10:19 AM Duhallen was told to retreat again.. He looked back inside and to the battlefield.. Oh fearless commander what the hell is in that bull brain of yours? Good thing he couldn't read expressions in the clothing he wore. He focused on Myaka, the curses already on her, he decided to drain her very soul. Casting his hand out as he retreated he focused.. Pulling her very essence from her if he could simply to slow her advance more and perhaps weaken her enough before she would get to the Tauren. MyakaToday at 11:27 AM There is a tug as the drain soul connects, but it would seem like there is no soul to take, almost as if another warlock beat Duhallen to draining it. The small tug doesn't distract the warrior much at all from her path. KatelleToday at 11:42 AM Grin and bear it was Ketani's motto as she fought to keep control of the felfire surrounding the Infernal through the pain of nether afflictions. Growls and gasps marked her pain until it passed, but by that point she had torn the Infernal down to its sum parts. With eyes focused on the group of Grim gathered at a decimated building, Ketani used her magic to hurl the pile of demonic rubble towards the Grim. It flamed anew with her own chaotic fel energies, the felfire and Infernal boulders hurtling through the air with the speed and ferocity of an angry, blood-seeking warlock. MyakaToday at 11:54 AM Myaka disengaged back from the grim as the rubble flies towards them, watching to see if anyone has an opening for an attack Vindicator JaelantiaToday at 12:15 PM While her muscles throbbed with pain, Jaelantia spent what focus she could to extend a hand towards Ketani. She hesitated, her eyes narrowing slightly, but after a moment the Light sprung forth from her fingers, a vibrant beam of golden light briefly enveloping the warlock. The curse she had been afflicted with would sting a bit less, and wounds would cease to burn as the Light restored some of her strength. KatelleToday at 12:17 PM Ketani took a brief moment to regain her bearings once she sent the flaming rubble towards the Grim, and Jaelentia's efforts sped the process along. Breathing a little easier, she spared the draenei a nod. Vindicator JaelantiaToday at 12:21 PM Jaelantia watched to see that she was well, but did not return the gesture. Choosing instead to face the fore, she began to stride forth through the rubble of the Infernal. Ahead, there was a felguard - and a group of Horde warlocks who were surely responsible for its blasphemous existence. GavrilToday at 1:17 PM As the hammer flies towards Gavril, end over end, shadows coalesce into a barrier around him. The hammer slams into the surface of the barrier, shattering into a hundred fragments of Light, spraying outwards and dissipating into the air. The warlock whips around, escaping into the guild hall to no doubt prepare for the siege to come. AderleeToday at 2:57 PM While Ketani sent the pile of demonic rubble speeding toward the Grim position, Aderlee shook his staff up and down wildly while chanting in ancient Zandalari. Empowered from drinking his brew, Aderlee’s voice deepened in octave and had the odd sound of multiple trolls chanting as one. The witch doctor’s chanting, combined with the bells and trinkets jingling wildly was displeasing to the ear at best and more likely grating like nails on a chalkboard. Aderlee could do nothing to stop the rubble, and if he could there were far too many pieces to stop anyways. Hopefully another Grim soldier would be able to stop the larger pieces that made up the torso and limbs of the infernal. The effect of Aderlee’s chanting would momentarily toughen the Grim’s exposed skin like steel during the impact. It would do nothing to lessen the pain of being hit, but the rubble would deflect as if impacting well forged plate armor. Aderlee grimaced as he was pelted by dozens of smaller pieces, then shouted in pain as a rock the size of a watermelon hit him square in the chest, knocking him on his back. With the air knocked out of him Aderlee gasped and tenderly felt his chest, wincing as he felt multiple broken ribs. Before rising to his feet, Aderlee wiggles his fingers about and willed his body to knit back together his bruised and broken bones. KatelleToday at 3:16 PM Katelle stuck to the shadows this entire time, wary of the overlarge Tauren and his command of the Light. Now that his consecrated ground had faded, however, she set her eyes on the downed troll. This one was personal: she recognized him as the troll that translated her wedding vows! Katelle spoke across the guildstone as she stepped through the shadows, exiting them just behind Adderlee. She crouched down just far enough to reach one hand on either side of his throat, keeping wary of his tusks in the moment, and pull a garrote wire taut around his neck.(edited) MyakaToday at 3:19 PM Myaka also charges towards Adderlee, but she doesn't move to attack the troll, instead she plants herself between Kate and the Grim, expecting someone to try to aid the troll. She wants to make sure no one can't help him. UmbralheartToday at 3:46 PM Umbral leaps into position between Aderlee and Myaka, planting herself between the priest and the Empire, her arrival and speed carrying enough weight and presence to stun all in front of her as she hip chucks the priest towards the entrance of the guild hall. Umbrals cackling from underneath her helmet ringing out as her shield plants itself as an annoyingly ever present obstacle. KatelleToday at 3:48 PM Having already stepped through the shadows behind Aderlee and made a grab for him, Katelle gets hip-chucked towards the entrance of the Grim guild hall as well. Whee! Vindicator JaelantiaToday at 3:56 PM While the chunks of Infernal flew through the air, the paladin's relentless rush brought her nearer still to the warlocks and their freshly summoned felguard. She stopped short, the loud clanging of her greaves ceasing just as they had grown their loudest. Her right fist held her warhammer steady as she drew herself back on one leg for an instant. One of her armor covered hooves raised into the air, hovering momentarily over the dead and trampled soil below. With a guttural shout, she stomped back down again, and the impact seemed to crack the very earth beneath her. Shafts of brilliant golden Light swiftly spread in all directions around her, the paladin standing as the epicenter of a sanctified circle. The consecrated ground shuddered with the very force of the holy Light, the divine magic searing any foes caught standing in it.(edited) MyakaToday at 4:00 PM Myaka is stunned, managing to stay upright but she does stumble and take a moment to regain her bearings and balanace. She snarls at Umbral knocks Kate and Adderlee away. She is invigorated by the consecrated circle, though it is noticibly dimmer around her. KatelleToday at 4:03 PM From this close up, Ketani could feel them. Wards--wards around what she presumed was the Grim guild hall, what with the banner flying their grotesque colors. She didn't have the time to pay attention to them just now, though, instead opting to coil her nether energies around her and release them in a terrifying screech that echoed with the voices of a thousand tormented souls. Hopefully, someone would flee in terror as she had made so many do before. PincusToday at 4:05 PM The Forsaken looks at the lump on the ground from the well timed rush. A brief breeze - cutting through the grass, moving it ever so slightly - rushes over the human. The voice of the Eredar carried by the wind. "Die. I am the eater of souls. I am the destroyer of worlds. You will not survive. You will be my slave for time eternal." QabianToday at 4:20 PM From some place that was heavily shielded by Awatu's large form, solid shield, and freakish sun powers, Qabian contributed what he could, mostly by avoiding the direct clashes others were finding themselves in, sending discouraging fire toward any stragglers or scouts trying to find flanking positions. He managed to counter at least one large chunk of infernal with a last second pyroblast over Awatu's shoulder that probably singed a little. But the order to fall back to the hall itself had already gone out, and with his fist of silver wire and white light drawn close in front of his face, the air around the blood elf shimmered for a moment, then he vanished entirely. PincusToday at 4:24 PM Pincus eyes the field - and thinks that the elf is getting a little too far out for comfort. Reaching in his bag, he pulls out a small device and hurls it in the direction of Umbralheart. The mechanical squirrel runs off to fetch something for his master. KatelleToday at 4:29 PM Before the fear takes hold, the masked rogue barks a laugh at Pincus and wraps herself around the back of Aderlee's body, locking her legs at the ankles and locking her garrote wire into place around the troll's neck. Her embrace might even be considered intimate if it weren't for the wire and the way her laughter dies into a terrified scream once the Forsaken's spell fully washes over her. Locked into place as she is, her flailing to try and get away get away oh dear Light get away from here just does more damage to Aderlee and his windpipe (and anything else he wants damaged. She's got knives everywhere). (( Tagging for @Aderlee's return to RP so he can see what is happening to his character! )) MyakaToday at 4:43 PM The scream distracts Myaka, cutting through the rage induced haze, seeing that Kate isn't attacked she assumes it's either a priest or warlock spell. Even though she knows this, the attack against her friend and General causes her rage to grow, she starts swinging her blade at Umbral in rapid controlled strikes and stabs. She follows up on the strike with a massive plume of shadowflame roaring from the center, hoping the strikes knocked Umbral off focus enough for the life drain and debilitating cold of the flame to get past the other warriors defense. UmbralheartToday at 4:52 PM Umbral's cackling grows quiet as the fear sets out over the battlefield, Myaka's strikes give her pause as she works to deflect and buffet them against her shield, but there is little in her toolbox to defend against the fire seeping from Myaka's shield. Sometimes a simple tool is the best tool, sometimes a blunt hammer is the best tool for the job. Umbral lifts her polearm high and drives the flat of the blade down towards Myaka's head with enough force to stun even the most battle hardened warrior even if the blow is deflected. PincusToday at 4:54 PM As Pincus eyes the chaos he's unleashed, he ponders if it is time for some more. "He needs to be kept on his toes..." Pincus whistles and ponts at Umbralheart's grappling foe. Krathoon stops, and charges full speed at the combatant, axe back and at the ready.(edited) MyakaToday at 6:25 PM Myaka moved and blocked the polearm with her own blade, locking the two in a standstill. She was already moving to use the locked blade as a way to hopefully pull the polearm free from Umbral's grip but the felguard stops her plan. She has to move her shield to block the axe though she tries to at least keep Umbral's blade locked in a stalemate. UmbralheartToday at 6:31 PM Umbral begins cackling again as the felguard intervenes, she pulls back from Myaka and follows Katelle and Aderlee into the obscure guild hall entrance. Vindicator JaelantiaToday at 7:49 PM From above the felguard's head came the sudden blow of a hammer - materialized from seemingly nothing, the Light formed the shape of a weapon to strike the new combatant and stun it where it stood. Jaelantia would soon be upon the felguard, eyes full of fury. MyakaToday at 7:58 PM Myaka nods at Jael before turning and moving after Umbral, she didn't want to leave Kate to be attacked since she'd be focused on the healer.
  45. 1 point
    In the light of the rising sun, the throne of the Zandalari empire shined like a mountain of gold. A heavenly outline traced the great terraces and tiers of the upper city, culminating in the massive halo at the top that glared down disapprovingly at the chugging, half-dead ship. Bringing the goblin ship to Dazar'alor was akin to dropping a dead rat on a palace's rug. As far out as he was, Tahzani could still make out the plethora of ships that clearly fit outside of the Zandalari's aesthetic. Great wheeled abominations of the Cartels, dreary destroyers of the Dark Lady, iron hulled battleships of Orcish designs, and many which he did not immediately recognize. As usual, he was late to the party and cursed himself for falling behind the rush. The weary crew of the company's ship set to docking and preparing the hold for the influx of new goods while he set to work inspecting just what goods they could acquire. Unsurprisingly, as soon as one of the world's most prominent ports opened its gates, everyone sprang out of the woodwork to sell. The Ramkahen, the Vrykul, and even the Hozen had set up their stands and brought crates and barrels filled with their wares. Each of them would have to be sampled first, then they would haggle until a deal could be made. All of his training failed to prepare him for the sheer variety of alcohol that suddenly existed. Taste, swish, analyze, spit, rinse, and then repeat. If he swallowed even a small amount of any there would be no telling how many types of liquor would be swirling in his gut by the end of the day. Every vendor had a new drink for him to try and by the time he was halfway through the bazaar his throat was already dry from talking and his gums nearly bleeding from the harsh liquors he had scoured them with. It was barely even the afternoon and ten new kinds of drinks had been approved for his ship. By late afternoon, that count had risen to twenty-five. By early evening, it jumped to thirty-five. By the time the sun had set the cargo hold in his ship had been cleared for nearly forty new kinds of liquor ranging in size from bottles to jars to kegs and even full sized oil drums. His calm, pleasant tone had devolved to a cracking rasp from hours upon hours of negotiation. It was what he would blame when he suddenly found himself at a loss for words, not the fear of the knife waggling under his nose. When the vendor's eyes had widened he had been slow to react, not putting the seemingly friendly greeting behind him and the merchant's obvious fear together fast enough. When he turned to regard the new voice he found himself staring down several inches of steel towards the broad grin of a troll with hide that was the same color as his. A wide jaw, burly build, and yellow hair marked him as a Vilebranch troll. The thief's own surprise was quickly masked as he took in the sight of the stunned Revantusk and for a moment the two mortal enemies only had eyes for one another, allowing the merchant to quickly hide. " Well now li'l mon. Jah Dahkspeah mastah let jah off de leash ta go play wit de othah li'l people?" " What de hell jah be doin' heah spidah hump-" Tahzani's retort was halted as the sharpened point of the blade pricked the tip of his nose. " Eeeeaaaaasy dere cousin. No need fah name callin' now! Ah be heah fah business. Fah jah protection!" " Mah protection?" Tahzani asked incredulously. A though tugged at him that turned the incredulous look into something more amused, the trolls were borrowing goblin tactics. " Das righ'! Dis place be dangerous...Nevah know who jah gonna run into. Jah pay me? Ah protect jah. Notin' bad gon' happen undah mah watch." " An' if ah don'?" Tahzani asked slowly. The Vilebranch chuckled darkly, baring teeth that had been filed down to points and stained. " World be a cruel place, Li'l Revantusk." Out of the corner of his eye, Tahzani spotted a flash of gold. A guard was striding towards the two, lead by the panicking merchant. The Vilebranch's face twisted into a sour expression as he quickly stowed his blade away. " Tink about it." He called before lumbering away into the crowd. When the man had left him, Tahzani released a quivering breath and stared out at the market. Suddenly the heads of hair seemed far more distinct, he no longer saw plain colors but the markings of tribes from all over the world. Every lesser tribe had their eyes on the city, and every one of them hated the Horde. "Halfway across de world an' i'm still dealin' wit mah asshole neighbahs." He sighed.
  46. 1 point
    “I'm not sure this is a fit place for the child,” Nathandiel said, holding Kieran protectively to his shoulder. “Particularly not with one of those here.” He nodded towards the wretched strapped into the chair before the incinerator. “There is no need to worry, I assure you,” Howard Philip Glenn spoke from the platform above, working at a complicated looking control panel. Jets of steam escaped and coloured liquids boiled in large, glass vats. The smell in the room was surprisingly clean, if a little reminiscent of a country fire. “He is quite tied down.” Howard Philip Glinn did not seem the least concerned with the quivering, babbling, soiled creature in the unwelcoming chair. It fought its restraints between bouts of distraction, eyes drawn to the releases of steam or the striking of iron. Whenever Glinn moved, the milky-white eyes followed and the babbling lowered in volume. “I'd be happy to come back. . . . When I've gotten a nurse for the infant.” Nathandiel offered his voice needlessly cheery. Glinn dismissed this with an absent and irritated wave of one skeletal hand. Sure, mana addict and monstrous machinery; quite the place for a child less than one. Nathandiel pressed his lips to the small boy's head, soft tendrils of fine black hair like feathers against his own flesh. “Alright right then, it's all okay.” The little boy was silent, not asleep but near to it. Nathandiel didn't think that many elves were born in the Undercity. and that if Kieran could count himself amongst peers they were few and had not stayed long. In a way their leaving the cabin had been a coming home for the child—back to the screams and the antiseptic and the dank dampness of life without the sun. But a sun child needed that great globe of warmth and as soon as he was old enough, as soon as the arrangements were made through Pascal in Stormwind, Kieran would go to the woman that embodied sunshine; He would go to Siané. There he would be cared for and watched over at the Bramblewaithe Grammar School for boys while Siané performed the duty of guardian. For this he would see her handsomely remunerated. That she had agreed had been a load of relief for him. Baalthemar had not come to see the child and Nathandiel had felt forced to resolve that the other man no longer held an interest in the baby, with that in mind arrangements had needed making. Until Kieran could go to school he would stay with Nathandiel. Unfortunately that meant staying in the Undercity--and being at the mercy of whatever insane studies the other occupants pursued. He turned his attention back to Glinn. “So what's this about then, what's really going on here?” He asked. “Finally, you ask.” Glinn lowered his wretched form down the ladder and joined Nathandiel on the same floor. Glinn’s dry, dead face, pulled into a hideous grin of pleasure as he approached, reaching out and laying one withered hand on Kieran’s back. “My my, he is warm. Elves and their sunshine, they are so warm to the touch. When they are wee are they hot like the flames of candles.” Glinn came close and, without invitation, took the baby from Nathandiel. There was a moment of alarm, a twisting of the intestines, in which Nathandiel warred between snatching his ward back and showing his superior unquestioning trust. Trust won out. “There is a good lad, yes.” Glinn held up Kieran for inspection. The child was cooperative, making no fuss as he was handled by the cold hands of the undead. “He’s not yours, I know that.” Glinn said, “unless you mean to tell me that Drinn Sel’Quar has born you a son. I do suppose he looks a little like her and she'd have made a very warm child.” Nathandiel said nothing. That would have been a good cover story, what with Drinn missing and the resemblance, the time between her disappearance the birth of Kieran. He had a single photograph of Drinn, perhaps he could lead Kieran to think her his mother. “But he isn't, because he isn't a halfling. His warmth is too great.” Glinn’s eyes twinkled as he set them on Nathandiel who remained very, very still. The two men stared at eshcother, the corpse absently rocking the pink child. Glinn did this with a familiarity that, to Nathandiel, indicated that Glinn had been well-acquainted with children in his life. “It's all right,” Glinn said finally. “I need your help.” Glinn turned his attention to Kieran, the tension disbursed. “Yes, yes I do. I need your new daddy to help me!” He held the child up and blew an awful, blasphemous raspberry in the babies tummy, making Kieran squeal with delight. As Glinn explained what he intended, using the withered as an example, he kept Kieran in his arms. The baby was delighted by this new friend, this decrepit grandfatherly figure who knew all the best ways to make something even as uncanny and cruel as the administration of violent serums to the captive soul in the chair something fun. Kieran trumpeted his joy along with Glinn when the spent withered went into the fire, echoing the beast's screams with his own laughter. How innocent children were before they learned of context and subtlety. “I'll need you to do the legwork of course, Silvermoon enjoys our resources as part of our partnership. You'll have all that you need.” Glinn gave Kieran back to Nathandiel and the child protested; he liked Glinn. “I'll arrange for larger quarters for you and your boy, I expect you'll be spending more time here, what with the loss of your dalliance--what was his name, the one with the single eye.” Nathandiel nodded, relieved to have the child back in his arms. “Thank you, my room is a bit too small for the two of us. One really shouldn't sleep with an infant in their bed.” “No, no they mustn't. That was one of the leading reasons for infant death in my village. I imagine you let him sleep in his basket though.” This was a question and not a statement, despite its positioning. “Yes, of course. The room is just too cold, he's warmer next to me.” “Then a bigger bed and rooms with a fireplace you shall have. Just don't tell your colleagues, they'll become dissatisfied with their single rooms and I don't care to explain housing rules to them.” Nathandiel nodded. “I won't say a word.” “Good. Go on then, Ill send on the data collected so far. That mathematical brain of yours should start chewing as soon as you receive it.” To this, Nathandiel consented and headed to the door, grateful to be excused. "Nathandiel . . . " He stopped at the door and turned back to Glinn. "Do you know why Horsley, during his attempts to cure homosexuality, ended up using oestrogen, the female hormone, instead of the male? He found that while oestrogren resulted in the abolishment of the sex drive, testosterone resulted in an increase--be it directed towards men or women--and that homosexual men being treated with testosterone not only pursue more sex, but neglected their other occupations in life. That was a side note of course, as a man's productivity was never the question for Hosley, but I have always thought back to that footnote when, in life, I have found myself torn between my laboratory and what lays between the thighs of a supple woman. Sex is a wonderful vice, a miraculous vice that can make babies like that little one you hold in your arms, but it takes you away from your work, and it is in our work that we are truly free, fed, and find ourselves fulfilled. While you are bound here to the Undercity without the comforts of sex, I would encourage you to heal your heart in your work. You might find that the most satisfyingly active organ you possess in between your ears." Nathandiel inhaled sharply, struck by the depth of Glinn's words, of his advice. At a loss for anything else to say that would prove an equal and fitting response he only nodded. He hurried from the laboratory with the boy, the smell no longer clean, but sweet with burning meat and the faint scent of his own anxious sweat.
  47. 1 point
    Breygrah does not try containing her smile when asked about Kerala. "She is one you can rely on, when her word is given. She can be gruff, and stern. But we all need that from time to time. I only wish I could have been reliable to her as she was to me." She pauses a moment, and pats a hand on the tabard she wears. "I do truly hope that I could have her support." She does not explain what she means before smiling politely and going on her way.
  48. 1 point
    "Whatever strange paths we may walk in life, Kerala always seems to find her way across mine, to my great joy. I do not claim to understand the tauren, but she is my friend, and I believe that she has some great destiny in store. What, and how I might serve in guiding her towards it, I do not know. I am not an augur. But Kerala approaches her challenges with a wisdom and ferocity that few can match."
  49. 1 point
    Oi, Ker?" Cobrak cocks an eyebrow as he puffs his pipe. "Aye, she's got brass ta do wut she did...now iffin she 'ad tha brains ta see it through wiffout so much damn trouble is anutha thing." The hunter chuckles, "Still want a pic of Syr's face when she first found out bout her joinin' Grim."
  50. 1 point
    ((Kerala needs to remember....all is fair in love and war. There is no such thing as cheating))